Positive amendments regarding Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/25

Last week COLEACP issued an urgent information bulletin to alert stakeholders in the organic sector to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/25, amending and correcting detailed rules for Council regulation (EC) No. 834/2007, published on 14th January. The Regulation requires that the Certificate of Organic Inspection (COI) for organic goods must be issued prior to the shipping of the goods from the country of origin. This rule will enter into force on 3rd February 2020.

During the past week COLEACP has engaged with Freshfel and others to request some amendments to the rule that would minimise negative consequences. After considering all the information received, on 24th January the European Commission sent a message to organic certification bodies and third country authorities notifying that:

  • Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/25 will still enter into force on 3rd February
  • The COI still needs to be issued and signed before the consignment leaves the third country. However, Boxes 13, 16 and 17 may be filled with the provisional information available
  • The Commission is updating TRACES so that Boxes 13, 16 and 17 can be filled in after the signature in Box 18
  • The Commission is proposing an amendment to specify that information concerning means of transport and the transport documents (Boxes 13, 16 and 17) shall be included in the COI within 10 days from the issuance of the COI, and in any case before endorsement of the COI from Member State authorities.

This is a very positive step. However, along with Freshfel and other associations, we kindly ask you to please check the proposed changes carefully, assess their feasibility, and to get back to us as soon as possible with your views. In effect we need to know if this is a compromise that you can live with, or if you foresee any other important challenges.

Freshfel is seeking some further clarification on the timing of implementation of these amendments, and we will send any important updates as they arise.


The unedited text from the Commission is provided below.

“The Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/25 amending and correcting Regulation (EC) No 1235/2008, published in the Official Journal of 14 January 2020, will enter into force on 3 February 2020.

This Regulation clarifies that the Certificate of Organic Inspection (COI) must be issued at the moment the consignment leaves the third country of export or origin to ensure compliance with second subparagraph of Article 33(1) of Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 and the traceability of the imported products during distribution, including transport from third countries.

According to some feedback received, it appears that it takes few days for the Control bodies to receive complete transport documents, which hinders the possibility to include such information in the certificate of inspection before the consignment leaves the third country of origin or export as required by Article 13(4) of Regulation (EC) No 1235/2008.

In order to find a workable solution control bodies and control authorities are requested to issue and sign the COI before the consignment leaves the third country of export or origin as required by Article 13(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1235/2008. Control bodies and control authorities are to carry out the necessary documentary checks before signing box 18. However, Box 13, Box 16 and Box 17 of the COI may be filled in with the provisional information available at the time of issuing the COI.

In order to ensure a proper functioning of the system, we are taking the necessary action in TRACES to ensure that control bodies and control authorities will be able to update the information in Boxes 13, 16 and 17 and upload the final transport documents in TRACES after the signature of Box 18 and before the COI is endorsed by the Member State (in Box 20). 

Moreover, we plan to propose an amendment of Article 13(4) of Regulation (EC) No 1235/2008 to specify that the information concerning transport means and the transport documents (Box 13, Box 16 and Box 17) shall be included in the COI within 10 days from the issuance of the COI and, in any case, before endorsement of the COI from Member State’s authorities. The adoption of these amendments is subject to the procedure laid down in Article 38 of Regulation (EC) No 1235/2008.”