Bio Suisse import policy and restrictions

Bio Suisse places restrictions on which products from outside Switzerland may be marketed using the Bud label. These import restrictions are set out in detail in Part V Chapter 2 of the Standards. Below are the principles on which these restrictions are based.

Principles

  • Swiss Bud products take priority over imported products.
  • In general, only raw materials or single-ingredient products are imported. Importing fully processed products is only permitted in exceptional cases.
  • Imports from Switzerland’s neighbouring countries are preferred. The origin or transport distance of the products must be justifiable.
  • During approval, sustainability criteria are adequately taken into consideration.
  • Product quality and the availability of goods are considered during evaluation.
  • Bio Suisse sees itself as a partner of Bio Suisse Organic operations.
  • The trustworthiness and brand image of the Bud may not be damaged.

Import restrictions

If a product is produced on an operation outside Switzerland that has been inspected and certified according to Bio Suisse Standards, it does not automatically receive the Bud label. For imported products to be approved for marketing using the Bud label, they must first be subject to an approval process and receive approval at the end of it. Approvals are published in the online approval list. The approval list states the region of origin, the approval status, any restrictions, the approval decision, the period of approval and the justification for it for all imported Bud products.

Please consult this approval list if you

  • would like to import new Bud products
  • would like to import existing Bud products from Europe/MAS* for the first time from overseas
  • would like to import existing overseas Bud products from new overseas operations

Starting point

As the umbrella organisation for Swiss Bud operations, the core mission of Bio Suisse is to support and promote Swiss Bud producers and products. Bio Suisse does, however, permit the import of foodstuffs which are either not produced in Switzerland or not produced in sufficient quantity or quality. Imported products should supplement the range of products already available within Switzerland and fill any gaps in supply. However, they must not compete with domestic Bud production or damage the Bud image. Bio Suisse issues additional import restrictions to ensure this is the case.

Based on the whole-farm approach to organic management (Part V, Article 4.1.3 of the Standards), which is also applicable abroad, all (plant) products may be certified in accordance with Bio Suisse Standards (Bio Suisse Organic). In order to be able to be marketed in Switzerland under the Bud label, in addition to certification, the following must also be ensured:

  • Compliance with the import restrictions
  • Possession of a valid Bud licence for importing the relevant product

  • Clearance of the import batch via the Bio Suisse Supply Chain Monitor (SCM)

Approval process

In order for imported products to be approved for marketing using the Bud label, they must first be reviewed and assessed by several evaluation teams. Based on these assessments and any opinions issued by stakeholders, a core team from the head office draws up an overall assessment and submits an application to the Quality Committee (QC). The QC then decides whether the product will be approved for marketing using the Bud label.

Each assessment team consists of individuals from the head office as well as from Bio Suisse committees and is supported by other specialists from Bio Suisse’s national and international network. Each team is responsible for one criteria block.

Depending on the product and its origin, two to six different criteria blocks are assessed (for details on the different criteria blocks, please see Part V, Chapter 2.2 of the Bio Suisse Standards):

  • Prioritising Swiss production
  • Prioritising Swiss processing
  • Product portfolio policy
  • Trustworthiness

Additionally for imports from outside Europe/Mediterranean countries*:

  • Prioritising Europe/Mediterranean countries*
  • The sustainability of products from outside Europe/Mediterranean countries*

As soon as it becomes apparent that a product no longer fulfils the conditions for marketing using the Bud label or if new restrictions are introduced, the licensees affected by this will be contacted for the purposes of carrying out new evaluations and obtaining additional information to supplement the team’s assessments. This then allows the QC to make a decision based on the full picture.

Imported products are reviewed every couple of years (in accordance with the period of approval stated in the online approval list).

Communication

Decisions relating to the approval of products for marketing using the Bud label will be communicated to the relevant licensees and published on the online approval list.

If, on the basis of a new assessment, previous approval for an imported Bud product to be marketed as such is withdrawn, a transitional period shall be applied – out of fairness both towards the operations outside Switzerland and towards the Swiss importer. The operations affected by this will be contacted and the period during which the product can continue to be marketed using the Bud label will be set out.

*Mediterranean countries             Countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea

Part V, Chapter 2 of the Bio Suisse Standards: “Bio Suisse import restrictions”

Import restrictions are based on the principles and objectives set out in Part V, Chapter 1.

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