The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and the National Service for Animal and Plant Health, Food Safety and Quality of Mexico (SENASICA) have announced a joint Organic Compliance Committee to “ensure the integrity of organic products trade between the United States and Mexico.” With implementation of Mexi- co’s organic regulations slated for 2017, the two countries agreed to form a committee to achieve “equivalency in organic production and trade,” as well as enhance enforcement controls on organic products.

According to an October 19, 2016, press release, the committee will “establish requirements for the use of import certificates in both countries within six months to provide verification of each shipment of organic products between the United States and Mexico.” Under the new arrangement, the committee will sample organic products for chemical residues, share the results with AMS and SENASICA, and “engage with certifiers operating in Mexico by conducting listening sessions to deter- mine any additional training, oversight, or policy guidance needs.”

“We deeply value our relationship with Mexico as we work towards organic equivalency,” stated AMS Administrator Elanor Starmer. “The committee’s work will strengthen monitoring and enforcement controls, and improve traceability of organic products traded between the U.S. and Mexico.”