EU LAW ON ORGANIC PRODUCTION:
In 2007 the European Council of Agricultural Ministers agreed on a new Council Regulation (Council Regulation (EC) No. 834/2007) setting out the principles, aims and overarching rules of organic production and defining how organic products were to be labelled.
The regulation set a new course for developing organic farming further, with the following aims:
- sustainable cultivation systems
- a variety of high-quality products.
- greater emphasis on environmental protection
- more attention to biodiversity
- higher standards of animal protection
- consumer confidence
- protecting consumer interests.
Organic production respects natural systems and cycles. Biological and mechanical production processes and land-related production should be used to achieve sustainability, without having recourse to genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
In organic farming, closed cycles using internal resources and inputs are preferred to open cycles based on external resources. If the latter are used, they should be
- organic materials from other organic farms
- natural substances
- materials obtained naturally, or
- mineral fertilisers with low solubility.
Exceptionally, however, synthetic resources and inputs may be permissible if there are no suitable alternatives. Such products, which must be scrutinised by the Commission and EU countries before authorisation, are listed in the annexes to the implementing regulation (Commission Regulation (EC) No. 889/2008).
Labelling organic foods
Foods may be labelled "organic" only if at least 95% of their agricultural ingredients meet the necessary standards. In non-organic foods, any ingredients which meet organic standards can be listed as organic. To ensure credibility, the code number of the certifying organisation must be provided.
Organic production outlaws the use of genetically modified organisms and derived products. However, the regulation on genetically modified food and feed lays down a threshold (0.9%) under which a product's GMO content does not have to be indicated. Products with GMO content below this threshold can be labelled organic.
Since 1 July 2010, producers of packaged organic food have been required under EU law to use the EU organic logo. However, this is not a binding requirement for organic foods from non-EU countries. Where the EU organic logo is used, the place where any farmed ingredients were produced must be indicated.