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Measures on the Administration of the Certification for Organic Foods

Decree of the State Environmental Protection Administration No. 10. 

Measures of Administration on the Certification for Organic Foods mas adopted at the executive session of the State Environmental Protection Administration on April 27, 2001 and is hereby promulgated for the implementation.

Minister Xie Zhenhua, State Environmental Protection Administration,  June 19, 2001

Chapter I   General Principles

Article 1 These Measures were formulated for the purposes of standardizing management of organic food certification, promoting the sound and orderly development of organic foods, preventing pesticides and chemical fertilizers from polluting and undermining the environment, safeguarding peoples' health and protecting the ecological environment.

Article 2 The organic foods stipulated by these Measures refer to agricultural products and processed agricultural products meeting the conditions:
(1) The foods conform to the State food sanitary standards and the demands of technological standards applicable to organic foods;
(2) The foods contain no pesticides, chemical fertilizers, growth hormones, chemical additives, pigments or preservatives, and no genetic engineering technology has been used during production and processing of the foods; and
(3) Organizations for certification of organic foods as stipulated in these Measures have certified the foods and authorized use of the organic food label on the foods.

Article 3 These Measures are applicable to institutions and individuals that engage in authentication, production, and sales of organic foods within the People's Republic of China.  

Chapter II Management of Organic Foods Certification Organizations

Article 4 The State implements a strict system to examine the qualifications of organic foods certification organizations.

Institutions that engage in certification of organic foods must apply to the Organic Food Derebpment Center(OFDC)established by the State Environmental Protection Administration to receive organic foods qualification certificates.

Article 5 Institutions that apply for organic foods qualification certificates must satisfy the following conditions:
(1) The institutions must be independent legal persons.
(2) The institutions must have more than three technicians possessing senior technical titles within their fields of specialty and more than five technicians with intermediate level technical titles in their fields of technical specialty, as well as technical personnel who are specifically engaged in organic food certification; and
(3) The institutions must have funds, facilities, fixed working places and other relevant working conditions for organic foods certification activities.

Article 6 Institutions that apply to OFDC to receive qualification certificates must submit to the an application form accompanied by the following materials:
(1) Qualification certificate for the legal person;
(2) Qualification certificates for professional technicians;
(3) Certifiable papers concerning the funds, facilities, fixed working places and other working conditions of the institution; and
(4) Other materials required by

Article 7 OFDC shall make a decision on whether it accepts the application and give a written reply to the applicant institution within 20 days from the day when it receives the application.

Where the application is declined, the reasons for declining the application shall be provided.

Article 8 OFDC shall complete its examination within 40 days from the day when it accepts the application.After examination, OFDC shall issue qualification certificates to the institutions that conform to the conditions for qualification of organic foods certification organizations.

Institutions can only engage in activities to certify organic foods after they have received the qualification certificates.

Article 9 The organic foods qualification certificate will be prepared and issued by OFDC

Institutions or individuals shall not forge, alter or transfer organic foods certification organization qualification certificates.

Article 10 Organic foods certification organizations must observe the following principles in carrying on their organic foods certification activities:
(1) The organizations must be fair, impartial and independent;
(2) The organizations must make public the certification standards, procedures and results; and
(3) The organizations must maintain the confidentiality of customers' technological and business secrets.

Article 11 The organic foods certification organizations must accept supervision and monitoring of their certification activities by OFDC - The organic foods certification organizations shall regularly inspect the organic foods they certify.

Article 12 Within a month after the organic foods certification organizations issue organic foods certifications, the organizations shall send copies of these certifications to the Organic Foods Approval Commission for record.

The organic foods certification organizations shall coordinate with each other and jointly share certification information.

Article 13 The organic foods certification organizations shall submit their annual work reports to before January 15 each year and accept the annual examination and monitoring by OFDC

Article 14 The organic foods certification organizations and their staff shall not engage in organic foods paid consultation activities or organic foods production and business activities.

Article 15 The organic foods certification organizations shall initiate organic foods certification activities according to the principles and procedures stipulated by these Measures and the technical standards of OFDC and shall not defraud or deceive their customers. 

Chapter III Management of Organic Foods Production, Operation and Certification

Article 16 Institutions or individuals that engage in organic foods production, operation and management must apply to organic foods certification organizations, in accordance with the stipulations of this Chapter and based on the type of activities in which they propose to engage, for the following kinds of certification and to obtain corresponding organic foods certificates:
(1) Certification of organic foods production primary facilities;
(2) Certification of organic foods processing; and
(3) Certification of organic foods operation and management.

Article 17 The institutions or individuals that apply for the certification of organic foods must submit written applications to the organic foods certification organizations, and also provide business licenses or other certificates to demonstrate the legality of their business operations.

In applying for certification of organic foods production primary facilities, it is also necessary to provide reports of the primary facilities' environmental quality and other documents described in the organic foods technical standards.

In applying for certification of organic foods processing, it is necessary to provide in addition certificates proving that the sources of raw materials are organic foods, implemented product standards, processing technology (technological process and procedure), certification of the enterprises' pollutant discharges and compliance with the standards specified by the competent departments of environmental protection administration at or above the municipal (district) level and other relevant documents described in organic foods technical standards. In applying for certification of organic foods operation and management, it is necessary to provide in addition certificates proving that sources of the products are organic foods and other relevant documents described in the organic foods technical standards.

Article 18 Within 10 days after receipt of the written applications and relevant materials, the organic foods certification organizations shall set forth their views on whether to accept the applications.

Where the applications are declined, the reason for declining shall be explained.

Article 19 The organic foods certification organizations shall complete the certification of the activities in question within 90 days of the date on which the organization agrees to accept the application.

After approval of the certification, the organic foods certification organizations shall issue organic foods facilities production certificates, organic foods processing certificates, or organic foods operation and management certificates (hereinafter refered to as organic foods certificates) in accordance with the applications and type of organic foods certification.

Article 20 The form of the organic foods certificates will be unified by OFDC.

The organic foods certificates must be used within the limits thereof.

Institutions or individuals shall not forge, alter or transfer organic foods certification organization qualification certificates.

Article 21 Organic foods certificates are valid for two years.

After the expiration of the certificate's validity, institutions or individuals who produce or otherwise operate organic foods businesses may continuously use their certificates if they apply to the original organic foods certification organizations one month before the expiration of the certificate for renewal; those institutions or individuals that do not receive certificate renewals for their business operations or organic foods are prohibited from using their organic foods certificates.

Article 22 Specimen inspection undertaken for the purpose of authenticating organic foods is undertaken by the inspection organization recognized by the relative government department.

Monitoring of the environmental quality of organic foods primary facilities is undertaken by the environmental monitoring station under the competent department of environmental protection administration at or above the district (municipal) level.

Article 23  Within the validity period of the organic foods certificate, under any of the following situations, the institution or individual engaged in the organic foods business shall handle information change procedures with the original organic foods certification organization:
(1) The institution or individual holding the certificate has changed;
(2) The product category (specification) has changed;
(3) The product name has changed:
(4) A new trade mark is being used; or
(5) The source of raw materials for processing organic foods or the source of the operated/managed organic foods products has changed. 

Article 24 The institutions or individuals that produce or otherwise engage in operation or management of organic foods must:
(1) Accept supervision and monitoring by the organic foods certification organization;
(2) Make timely reports to the organic foods certification organization upon changes to their certifications, and undertake the appropriate change procedures;
(3) Establish an organic foods operation and management system and maintain production and processing files;
(4) Maintain the truth of information disseminated concerning organic foods; and
(5) provide inhouse training for personnel engaged in organic foods work.

Article 25 The institutions or individuals that have obtained certifications of organic foods primary production facilities must define regional scope, label geographical location, establish protective labels, and inform the public in a timely manner.  

Chapter IV Management of Organic Foods Labels

Article 26 Institutions or individuals that have obtained organic foods certificates may affix organic foods labels on the labels, packaging, advertisements and directions for their organic foods.

Article 27 The design of organic foods labels shall be indicated by OFDC

Those using organic foods labels may proportionally enlarge or reduce the scale of the labels, but may not deform or change the color of the labels.

Those using organic foods labels must print the number of the organic foods certificate for the food associated with the label under the label.

Article 28 The organic foods labels must be used within the limits thereof.

Article 29 Institutions or individuals shall not forge, alter or transfer organic foods labels.

Article 30 Where, during the process of producing, processing or selling organic foods, the organic foods are polluted or mixed with non-organic foods, the institutions or individuals engaged in organic foods production, operation and management must make a timely report to the original organic foods certification organization, cease use of the organic foods labels for the affected foods and not allow those foods to be produced, processed, or sold as organic foods.

Chapter V Penalty Provisions

Article 31 An organic foods certification organization which violate the provisions of these Measures and engages in one of the following activities, shall be subject to a warning issued by OFDC an order for correction of the violating behavior within a specified time period; in the event that the organization does not correct the violating behavior within the specified time period, the organization's qualification certification shall be cancelled:
(1) The organization violates the provisions of Article 9(2), regarding the forging, alteration, and transfer of organic foods certification organization qualification certificates;
(2) The organization is not in compliance with standards at the year-end examination;
(3) The organization violates the provisions of Article 14 concerning engaging in paid consultative activities or organic foods production, operation and management activities; or
(4) The organization violates the stipulations of Article 15 concerning engaging in fraud and customer deception during the period of certification.

Article 32 Where organic foods which have obtained certification do not conform to the standards and specifications indicated for certification, the original organic foods certification organization shall temporarily suspend or withdraw the organic foods certificate, according to the particular facts of the case. 

Chapter VI Supplementary Provisions

Article 33  These Measures shall come into force as of the date of promulgation. The Measures on the Management of Organic (Natural) Food Labeling (Provisional) Promul gated by the former National Environmental Protection Agency in 1995 Shall be hereby repeuled.

(This English version is for your reference only.In case any discrepancy exists between the Chinese and English context, the Chinese version shall prevail.)

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