New organic legislation has entered into force across the EU since the commencement of the new year, following the postponement of its implementation for a year.
The new rules reflect the changing nature of this rapidly growing sector, according to the European Commission, and are designed to ensure fair competition for farmers.
They are also aimed at preventing fraud and maintaining consumer trust through the following:
- Production rules will be simplified through the phasing out of a number of exceptions and opt outs;
- The control system will be strengthened thanks to tighter precautionary measures and robust checks along the entire supply chain;
- Producers in third countries will have to comply with the same set of rules as those producing in the EU;
- Organic rules will cover a wider list of products such as salt, cork, beeswax, maté (a caffeine-rich infused drink), vine leaves, and palm hearts, and will have additional production rules (e.g. deer, rabbits and poultry);
- Certification will be easier for small farmers thanks to a new system of group certification;
- There will be a more uniform approach to reducing the risk of accidental contamination from pesticides;
- Exemptions for production in demarcated beds in greenhouses will be phased out.