OOAP operator & exporter responsibilities

If you're an operator or exporter exporting organics under the Official Organic Assurance Programme (OOAP), these are the requirements you need to meet.

Defining operators & exporters

  • Organic operators are the people responsible for day-to-day management of producing, processing and/or handling organic products intended for export under the OOAP.
  • Organic exporters are considered a type of operator under the OOAP. They must meet the same requirements as operators, as well as some additional export requirements.

The responsibilities you need to meet as an OOAP operator or exporter are outlined below.

Meeting OOAP operator requirements

All OOAP operators, including exporters, must:

  • comply with standards outlined in MPI organic standard OP3
  • comply with Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMARs) where applicable for your market
  • comply with OOAP technical rules for organic production  where applicable for your market
  • be registered as an organic operator with a Third Party Agency (TPA also known as a MPI recognised organic certifier).
  • implement a verified Organic Management Plan (OMP) that meets MPI organic standard OP3 and any export requirements specific to the countries being exported to
  • regularly report on your activities to your TPA, including any non-compliance issues.

Meeting organic standard OP3

You need to ensure you comply with standards outlined in MPI organic standard OP3. This contains registration and performance measurement criteria, as well as technical rules for organic production.

MAF organic standard OP3

Meeting Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMARs)

You need to ensure that you are aware of the specific OMARs for your export destination. OMARs outline the general requirements for market access for each destination, and more importantly, note specific points where the market access requirements differ from the Technical Rules.

Click OMARs (Overseas Market Access Requirements) in the left menu of this page to access organic OMARs.

Meeting OOAP Technical Rules for Organic Production

If you are exporting under the OOAP to the European Union (EU), Switzerland or Taiwan, or if you are exporting plants and plant products to Japan, your products must be produced in accordance with the OOAP Technical Rules.

Appendix 2 – Food Safety Technical Rules for Organic Production (359 KB PDF)

Registering as an organic operator

If you produce or export organic products under the OOAP, you must be registered with an organic Third Party Agency (TPA) recognised by MPI. You can select your TPA from the register.

Organics third party agency register

Implementing a verified Organic Management Plan (OMP)

You must have an OMP that meets MPI organic standard OP3 and any export requirements specific to the countries you are exporting to. The OMP covers the day-to-day management of producing, harvesting, processing, packing, storing, transporting and exporting organic products.

Your TPA evaluates your OMP and conducts on-site visits. Your TPA also verifies your records regularly to confirm your OMP continues to meet organic standard OP3 and relevant OMARs. The frequency of verification is based on demonstrated performance.

organic standard OP3
Click OMARs (Overseas Market Access Requirements) in the left menu of this page to access organics OMARs.

Reporting regularly on OOAP activities

You must report regularly to your TPA on your OOAP activities, including any non-compliance. A non-compliance is any failure to comply with the OOAP. In practical terms, this means any failure to meet the requirements of your OMP or relevant OMARs for the countries you are exporting to. If you do not rectify a non-compliance issue, you cannot export under the OOAP.

Meeting OOAP exporter requirements

As an OOAP exporter, you must:

  • meet all the OOAP operator requirements as outlined above
  • be registered as an organic exporter with MPI
  • obtain an organic export certificate or register your consignments for organic products being exported under the OOAP.

Registering as an organic exporter

If you export organic products under the OOAP, you must also register as an organic exporter with MPI. This allows you to export your products under the agreement between MPI and the country you are exporting to.

Complete the registration application form below and return it to MPI with the annual registration fee. Fees are stated on the application form.

Organic exporter registration – OP1 application form

Once registered, your details are published in a list of registered organic exporters on the MPI Food Safety website.

List of registered organic exporters

Renewing your exporter registration

Your exporter registration lasts for one year from the date you first register. You will need to renew your registration by that date the following year. If you do not re-register, but continue to export organic products, you will be in breach of the OOAP.

Renewal is your responsibility. MPI will endeavour to send you a reminder letter before your registration expires. However, non-receipt of a reminder letter cannot be used as an excuse for failure to renew a registration.

Applying for an export certificate or registering your consignment

You need to:

  • For export to the EU, Switzerland and Japan: obtain an export certificate for organic products being exported under the OOAP
  • For export to the US: register organic consignments being exported with MPI
  • For export to Taiwan: register organic consignments being exported with your TPA. Contact your TPA for further information on how to do this.

You must also be able to demonstrate that your products are organic. The information you supply on the export application form will be checked by your TPA to verify that your consignment is eligible for a certificate under the OOAP.

Organics – Export certificate application form