New USDA Regulations for Wine Importers of Organic Wine

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As of March 19, there is a new rule that will not affect just producers of organic wine in the United States. From now on, there are new USDA regulations for wine importers of organic wine, that will affect all those who work in the processes of sell, process or package organic agricultural products must also be certified organic, even wine import companies. This is due to the implementation of the latest Strengthening Organic Enforcement (SOE) regulation, a set of rules approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in January of this year. The objectives of this package of regulations are, among others, to protect the integrity of the organic supply chain and improve wine traceability.

Who will be affected by the new rule of the National Organic Program?

This final rule may affect not only wine importers, but also USDA-accredited certifying agents; organic inspectors; certified organic operations; operations considering organic certification; businesses that import or trade organic products; and retailers that sell organic products.

Now, why have importers started to be required to have this certification? The answer lies not only among the reasons given by the USDA (to provide greater security and traceability to the final consumer), but also in a statistic that reflects the rapid growth of the organic market in the US: during 2022 alone, organic goods were sold for a total of 60 billion. At the same time, due to this growth, according to the USDA, the number of what is known as ''organic fraud'' (people or companies marketing non-organic products as organic) has increased.

What do the new USDA organic regulations imply for importers? Well, for one thing, as already mentioned, all importers must have an organic certification, both for handling organic products and for their storage facilities. But that's not all: they must also have electronic NOP import certificates. The latest requirement also includes overseas producers that are certified in their own countries

Now, there is a small problem: the new USDA regulations are not so clear. They do not explain, for example, how companies that work importing organic wine or sell organic products should be certified. And if the USDA fails to further explain its new regulations, then it is likely that many small wine importers producers will stop importing wines with organic terminology on their labels.

If you want to know more about how to face these new regulations in the US market, then our consulting services can be very helpful. We´ll be happy to have a chat with you, and help you reach your goals.

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