The European organic sector is flourishing. Businesses are growing and so is the number of requests for auditing and certification. There is, however, a downside as the success of organic also attracts dubious companies keen on getting a piece of the pie. Hence, the relevance of having an adequate organic certification system has grown over the years. Likewise, Control Union Certifications B.V. (CUC) has grown in many different countries, whilst taking responsibility for the certificates it issues.
This requires organisational flexibility which CUC manages well. However, CUC found it difficult to collect in a conclusive manner and in a given timeframe supply chain data from other Certification Bodies which had certified the products involved.
In one of these cases, CUC issued a COI for the import of a batch of EU Organic certified sunflower seed from a Turkish supplier. CUC was unaware that EU member state Italy had decertified this shipment, informing the European Commission (EC) that it contained residue of a herbicide. Consequently CUC immediately withdrew the COI after it was informed about this.
Subsequently, the EC decided to withdraw CUC’s recognition to act as a control body for EU Organic in the sourcing countries of suppliers related to the COI above, namely, Turkey, the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan and Moldova, and in the United Arab Emirates where this supplier has an office.
Moving forward, CUC will communicate transparently about additional measures taken, as well as about the progress of implementing these measures. In the meantime it has re-applied to become recognised as a control body for EU Organic in the countries mentioned above. It supposes that the re-application will be completed by the time these measures have been effectively implemented.
CUC is confident that in the long term it will be even better positioned to provide service to its customers who depend on a reliable and well-audited organic sector.
Zwolle, 11 April 2019