Certificate of inspection requirements
Organic products can only be exported under the Official Organic Assurance Programme (OOAP) to the EU, Northern Ireland, Norway, or Switzerland if they have a certificate of inspection (COI). COIs are issued by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) through the EU Information Management System for Official Controls (IMSOC) (formerly known as Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES-NT)).
You must have a COI for each consignment of organic products. This must be issued on or before the date your consignment leaves New Zealand.
You will need a recognised agency to participate in the OOAP. OOAP recognised agencies are organic certification bodies that are recognised by MPI, such as AsureQuality or BioGro. Your recognised agency will:
- validate your use of IMSOC
- verify your consignments are eligible for a COI.
- COIs must be issued before the goods leave New Zealand.
- Exporters must factor in enough time for COI requests to be processed, and issued, before the goods leave New Zealand.
- MPI recommends that you submit your request at least 3 complete working days prior to the estimated date of departure.
- If you have submitted a request in good time but have not heard back, you are responsible for following up with MPI.
- If you are unable to allow at least 3 working days, you must contact both MPI and your recognised agency to discuss if it will still be possible to process the request in time.
- COI requests submitted after the goods have left New Zealand will not be processed.
Great Britain (England, Wales, Scotland, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, and Gibraltar)
From 1 January 2021 you do not need to use IMSOC to get a COI. However, you must still ensure that the GB-COI has been issued before the goods leave New Zealand.
From 1 January 2021 Northern Ireland remains aligned with EU organic product export requirements. You must ensure the COI has been issued through IMSOC before the goods leave New Zealand.
Norway applies the EU regulations to imports of organic products from third countries. You must ensure the COI has been issued through IMSOC before the goods leave New Zealand.
Get a IMSOC COI
To get a COI, you need a IMSOC account. If you haven't got an account, you will need to set one up.
Set up a IMSOC account
The IMSOC website has instructions to help you set up your account and use the IMSOC system. Internet Explorer may not display IMSOC correctly, so we recommend using another web browser.
To set up an account, you'll need to:
- get an EU login
- request a user profile
- request registration of your organic exporter business
- get validated by your recognised agency
- request registration of your organic producer suppliers, if they're not already registered.
Get an EU login
To get an EU login in TRACES-NT, follow these instructions:
Request a user profile
To request a user profile in TRACES-NT, follow these instructions:
Request registration of your organic exporter business
As part of the process to request a user access, you will have to identify the "organic exporter" business you work for.
If the business you work for already exists in IMSOC, search for this using the search function. You can search by country (New Zealand), chapter (organic), and section (organic exporter). When you have found the right business registration, select this as part of the request for a user access profile.
If you can’t find your business using the search function, and you are certain it should be there, contact your recognised agency (AsureQuality or BioGro).
If the business you work for does not exist in IMSOC (for example, if you are the first person from your organic exporting business to register in IMSOC), you will need to create a profile for the business:
- When prompted to register an activity in IMSOC, select "organic exporter" from the dropdown list. (Scroll to the bottom of the list of activities to find "Organic Exporter").
- Under "Activity Details" you need to select your control body/control authority. This is your MPI recognised agency for the OOAP, either:
- AsureQuality Limited (NZ-BIO-002)
- BioGro New Zealand Limited (NZ-BIO-003).
To request registration of your organic exporter business, follow these instructions:
See under "Creating a new operator when requesting access to the system".
Get validated by your recognised agency
Your recognised agency will need to validate your request for a user access profile. Email your agency to let them know you have applied.
Log in to IMSOC to check whether your profile has been validated.
Request registration of your suppliers (organic producers)
Your suppliers are the final operators who had responsibility for the products you are exporting, or supplied them to you. They need to have an "organic producer" profile registered in IMSOC, but suppliers don't need to register themselves.
Check if your suppliers are registered by searching for organic producers in IMSOC. You can search by country and section (organic producer).
If your suppliers aren't registered, you can:
- request registration for them
- ask your recognised agency to request registration for them.
See under "Creating a new Operator when working in the system".
If you don't know your organic producers, contact your recognised agency.
Help with IMSOC
If you need help using the system, email email@example.com
Once you have an account, you can apply for official assurance (a IMSOC certificate of inspection). For every consignment, you'll need to:
- submit a COI in IMSOC
- complete an official organic assurance application form
- send your completed COI and application form to MPI.
Get an official organic assurance (IMSOC COI)
You need to get a COI for every consignment exported to the EU or Switzerland.
The COI must be issued by MPI before your consignment leaves New Zealand. You need to complete your application early enough to make sure this can happen.
Make sure you complete all parts of the application without any errors. Simple mistakes, such as missing information or copying errors, will mean the application must be sent back to have these corrected. This can cause delays.
Your application will be sent to your recognised agency for verification. MPI is not responsible for the time it takes for your recognised agency to verify the details in your COI.
Submit a COI in IMSOC
The IMSOC website has instructions to help you create a COI.
After you submit your COI in IMSOC, save a PDF copy on your computer. Note the COI reference number, which is in the format "COI.NZ.YYYY.0000123" – you'll need this for your official organic assurance application form.
If you need help with requesting a COI in IMSOC, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Complete an official organic assurance application form
Instructions are provided on the form.
Download the official organic assurance application form [XLSX, 127 KB]
Send your completed COI and application form to MPI
Send the completed official organic assurance application form and a copy of the COI to email@example.com
We recommend submitting your application form and COI at least 3 working days before your consignment leaves New Zealand. Verification of the consignment by the recognised agency and certification by MPI certifiers are separate procedures. You need to ensure your application and COI are submitted early enough for both to be completed in time.
MPI will check that you haven't missed anything obvious. We'll then forward your application and COI to your recognised agency. If your consignment contains products certified by both AsureQuality and BioGro, we will send the application form to both agencies.
Your recognised agency will verify the details in your COI and application form. They will then send the verified application back to MPI. They'll also confirm with MPI that your products have been certified and are eligible for export to the EU or Switzerland.
MPI will make a final check.
If you need to contact MPI about documentation, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Receive your official organic assurance
If your application for an official organic assurance is successful, we'll issue your COI in TRACES.
The COI will be issued electronically – no hard copy will be generated. If you need a hard copy for your records, or your importer needs a PDF copy, you can download a copy of the issued COI from TRACES.
If your application isn't successful, we'll email you and your recognised agency. We will explain why it wasn't successful, and your recognised agency can advise you what to do next.
Who to contact
If you have questions about exporting organics to the EU or about getting a IMSOC COI, email email@example.com