Council Regulation (EC) No. 834/2007 outlines standards of production and labelling of products produced and sold as 'organic' within the EU.
- At least 95% of agricultural ingredients must be organic
- No GMO’s
- Must use the new logo
Member States accredited certification bodies carry out inspection and certification on producers and processors.EU regulation is designed to give consumers confidence when buying organic products.
All products sold in the EU as 'organic' must comply with the EU regulations. Products from third countries (i.e. those outside of the EU) must be certified to equivalent standards.
Some ‘third countries’ have equivalent rules on organic production and can therefore freely export organic products to the EU.‘Equivalent’ third countries named in Annex III of EU Regulation 1235/2008 are: Argentina, Australia, Costa Rica, India, Israel, Switzerland, and New Zealand.All other third countries have restrictions on what can be exported to the EU. Importers can be granted authorisations by Member States to import certain products – these have to meet identical or equivalent requirements as EU legislation and have been inspected accordingly.
In near future there will be a new import regime whereby control bodies working in third countries will be directly authorised and monitored by the EC and Member States (designed to improve monitoring and combat deception and fraud).
Estimating the market size of organic produce is difficult, as reflected by a recent European Commission report (2010) 'An analysis of the EU organic sector'. However figures for the EU-15 group of countries show that organic produce represents arund 1.9% of totoal household food expenditure, with retail sales reaching E14.4 billion in 2006/7. However more than 80% of this value is concentrated in 4 member states: Germany, UK, France, Italy.
In 1991 Regulation (EEC) No. 2092/91 was introduced which allowed organic farming to be formally recognised by the 15 member states at the time. This was part of the wider reform to EU CAP.
This regulation has since been updated with the latest being Council Regulation (EC) No. 834/2007. This EU policy ensures harmonisation of standards across Member States and is designed to simplify the system for both producers and consumers.