Organic third party agencies

Understand the role of third party agencies (TPAs) in organic exporting, the standards that must be met, and how to apply to become a TPA.


TPA role and responsibilities

Third party agencies (TPAs) are organic certifying bodies that are recognised by MPI to audit and verify that organic products exported under the Official Organic Assurance Programme (OOAP) are produced in accordance with:

  • Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMARs) of the destination country 
  • MPI organic standard OP3 and the technical rules.

Auditing organic operators

TPAs are responsible for:

  • registering organic operators for the OOAP
  • evaluating each operator's Organic Management Plan (OMP) to confirm it will deliver products complying with organic standard OP3, relevant technical rules, and OMARs
  • verifying that the OMP continues to meet organic standard OP3 and that it is being followed by the operator
  • determining how frequently each operator will be assessed against the organic standard OP3, based on their demonstrated performance
  • managing the timely resolution of any non-compliance issues.

Verifying organic consignments exported under the OOAP

TPAs verify the eligibility of organic consignments requiring official government assurances. This includes assessing the organic status and chain of custody of all the ingredients in all the products exported in a consignment.

TPAs are responsible for:

  • verifying that individual consignments of organic products are:
    • produced and handled in accordance with MPI organic standard OP3
    • eligible for export to their destination market under the OOAP 
  • issuing export certificates for markets where they've been given the authority to do so.

Becoming a TPA

If your company is interested in becoming a TPA, your organisation and its personnel must:

  • comply with MPI organic standards OP1 and OP2
  • be accredited to ISO 17020 by an accreditation body (see Appendix one of standard OP1).

OP1: Accreditation, recognition, and performance criteria [PDF, 203 KB]

OP2: Third party agency responsibilities [PDF, 142 KB]

The accreditation body (together with an MPI technical expert) makes a recommendation that MPI recognises the company as a TPA to carry out specific tasks.

Once you are recognised as a TPA:

  • your details are published in our register of recognised TPAs and their accredited individuals
  • TPAs are required to report regularly to MPI on their TPA activities and compliance with MPI organic standards OP1 and OP2.

What is an accreditation body?

An accreditation body is an internationally recognised independent organisation that is authorised to accredit organisations to certain ISO standards.

Find an accreditation body

The 2 accreditation bodies that operate in New Zealand are:

Who to contact

If you have questions about the application process or third-party agencies, email info@mpi.govt.nz

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