The IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements) Standard is an internationally applicable organic
standard that can be used directly for certification. A list of accredited certification bodies can be found
ACO offers certification under IFOAM in line with our overall approach of offering choice to clients on a market
To give some background on the international situation, out of a total of over 300 Certification Bodies world wide,
only 35 Certification Bodies (under the IFOAM rules) recognize each other and accept products certified by only
those certifiers. Only 35 Certification Bodies world wide have signed the IFOAM Multi Lateral Agreement. It is
this agreement that for the certification bodies accredited to IFOAM enables them to accept each other as equivalent,
and therefore to accept each others certification decisions. In this, IFOAM is very restrictive as it only narrows
the acceptation of certification bodies to these 35 Certification Bodies.
A number of the EU’s largest certifiers such as Ecocert (France), Control Union Certifications (CUC) – formerly Skal
(Netherlands), Soil Association (UK) and Bio-Inspecta (Switzerland) do not certify to IFOAM Norms but to EU Regulations
only. Similarly IFOAM has little relevance in the North American and Japanese markets.
Those who wish to continuously have a reference of ‘IFOAM compliance” on their certificate or wish to use the IFOAM
logo on their product, please complete an IFOAM application form BEFORE your annual audit.
A copy of the IFOAM standard can be downloaded here.
Do I need IFOAM?
It may be depend on who you supply your product to. Some buyers require specifically “IFOAM compliance” certified
product. If your product will be used as an ingredient by another processor/manufacturer, you might need to check
with your buyer if they require IFOAM or not.
What is the major difference between IFOAM and ACO?
The major difference will be ingredients. If you are a Processor or a Wholesaler, you might have struggled to
find ACO (IFOAM) recognized ingredients to be used in your product.
If you wish to keep the IFOAM logo and reference, then you still have to comply with the IFOAM requirement. This means
that ingredients to be used in your product must be IFOAM certified or certified by an IFOAM accredited certifier.
The Global Organic Mark
The Global Organic Mark is one of the services offered directly to operators under the new IFOAM Organic Guarantee
System . Organic operators certified by ACO can apply for the use of the Global Organic Mark on their products.
The Global Organic Mark is a registered and protected logo, which IFOAM promotes towards consumers globally.
The Global Organic Mark is the property of IFOAM. Its use by any other person is regulated under IFOAM’s Policy
43 on the Use of the Global Organic Mark.
Individual operators wishing to obtain the right to use the Global Organic Mark on their product should contact IFOAM.
The use of the Mark is regulated through contracts and is subject to fees according to the GOM fee scheme. IFOAM
also publishes a simple document describing GOM User Guidelines.
The IFOAM 2014 Norms for Organic Production and Processing can be found here.
Application and Evaluation Procedure
The general application process is as follows:
- Completed application documents are submitted to ACO for review
- ACO completes a document review of the application
- Once the application is completed and reviewed by the office and on-site audit will be allocated
- The auditor will complete the on-site audit
- The Certification Office completes a review of the on-site inspection report
- Once all outstanding issues have been addressed a IFOAM certificate of compliance is issued
- Annual audits (surveillance audits) are required to verify compliance
- On successful completion of the annual audit and closure of any corrective actions, a new certificate of compliance is issued
IFOAM contractual conditions can be found in the Certification Agreement received in the application information pack. The
associated fees and possible penalties can be found on the fee schedule received in the application information pack.
Operators must comply with the requirements of the IFOAM standard (link provided on this site). Operators have the right to appeal
certification decisions made by ACO, the process is as follows:
- The certified operator at all times has the right of appeal of decisions by either the auditor, the CRC (Certification Review Committee)
or CO. Such appeals will usually be at the expense of the operator, except where it is shown that fault lies with the CO.
- An appeal of a non-compliance decision must be filed within 30 days from the receipt of the notification. Appeals are to be processed
based on an application (in writing) from the applicant / Certified Operator concerned OR where the CO deems that an Appeals Committee
needs to be enacted on behalf of a client. In the event that the appeals process sustains the client’s appeal, the CO will enter into
negotiations with the client to offer reinstatement of certification and endeavour to find agreement with the client on a mutually
satisfactory management plan including communication with industry in relation to the matter
Any updates to procedures or regulations will be published on the certification news section of this website.
Operators are required to maintain documentation as outlined in the IFOAM standard.