Food certified as organic in the EU and the US will be able to be sold in either market, according to a new trade deal signed today (15 February).

Until now, companies wanting to sell their produce in both markets have had to obtain two lots of certification.

The deal, which will become active in June, will remove "significant barriers", the European Commission said, and form "a strong foundation from which to promote organic agriculture".

The Commission noted that there are "small differences" between organic standards in the EU and the US but said both sides had agreed their certfication programmes were "equivalent", except for the prohibiton of antibiotics.

Under the deal, products will only be allowed to be sold in both markets if antibiotics are not used for any reason. All products must also be distributed with an organic export certificate.

"This agreement comes with a double added-value," EU agriculture commissioner Dacian Ciolos said. "On the one hand, organic farmers and food producers will benefit from easier access, with less bureaucracy and less costs, to both the US and the EU markets, strengthening the competitiveness of this sector. In addition, it improves transparency on organic standards, and enhances consumers' confidence and recognition of our organic food and products."

US deputy agriculture secretary Kathleen Merrigan added: "This partnership connects organic farmers and companies on both sides of the Atlantic with a wide range of new market opportunities."