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OT4D – Helpline for technical questions regarding organic standards and certification

29 January, 2022

New service introduced

The OT4D project, a project from Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), implemented by IFOAM Organics International, Helvetas Intercooperation and FiBL, is opening an online helpline for local certification bodies as well as local consultants, who are involved in topics related to quality and label standards. The OT4D project supports the development of the organic sectors in Albania, Serbia and Ukraine.

The scope of this new helpline support would include

– Questions related to the (new) EU regulations in general

– Questions related to labelling/declaration and packaging of products

– Questions related to processing standards

– Questions related to residue issues

– Questions related to inputs in organic agriculture and processing

Target and costs

This helpline is at the beginning exclusive for stakeholders relating to the scope of the OT4D project: Albania and Serbia. Both individuals and legal entities may access the helpline, which will be tested free of charge during 2022 with a limited number of maximum 5 technical questions per organization and year. This relates to questions that can be answered by the experts rather easily.

In case questions require longer investigations (more than 2 hours), experts will respond accordingly and send an offer about the expected working time and the costs involved which would need to be covered for the involved expert working time.

Procedure

Requests are to be sent at any time to helpline@organictrade4development.org. A helpline coordinator will then share the specific questions with the different experts supporting the helpline, who then aim to respond within 3 working days. Experts may reject questions in case they are not in the position to answer them. All questions respectively requests have to be channeled through this email.

Both rejected questions and those requiring more time and involving costs for the beneficiary will not count for the 5 maximum requests for 2022.

Based on the experience during 2022, the ‘Helpline guidelines’ will be redefined for 2023 and onwards. Thereby, the support from the side of OT4D is likely to be reduced, implying that the helpline will only be partially subsidized.

More information https://www.ifoam.bio/news/helpline-certification-bodies-and-consultants

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