Dr David Jukes, The University of Reading, UK

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Food Law News - EU - 2016

Council Minutes, 13 December 2016

ORGANIC FOOD – Council discussions: Organic production and labelling of organic products

The following is an extract from the minutes of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting on the 12/13 December 2016:

Ministers took note of the state of play of the proposed regulation on organic production, with regard to the negotiations with the European Parliament (see: 15105/16). In particular, the presidency informed the Council that despite the considerable progress made in the most recent trilogues, no final agreement could be reached before the end of the year. This was due to the impossibility of finding compromise solutions on the following issues: greenhouses, derogations/collection of data and ending of derogations, seeds, and plant protection products (pesticides).

Delegations acknowledged the good progress made under the Slovak presidency and generally expressed a willingness to continue negotiations with a view to reaching a satisfactory agreement with the European Parliament and improving the current legislation to the benefit of organic producers and consumers. Ministers also took the opportunity to restate their positions on the outstanding issues.

The presidency welcomed the Commission's intention not to withdraw the proposal and concluded that a period of reflection was needed to consider further work on this file. Work will be resumed in 2017.

The proposal on organic production and the labelling of organic products, presented by the Commission in March 2014, is aimed at revising the existing legislation on organic production and the labelling of organic products so as to remove obstacles to the sustainable development of organic production in the EU. Its objectives are also to guarantee fair competition for farmers and operators, prevent fraud and unfair practices and improve consumer confidence in organic products. The Commission proposed strengthening the rules on the control system, the trade regime, animal welfare practices and non-authorised substances.

The Council reached a general approach on the organic regulation on 16 June 2015 and the EP Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (COMAGRI) voted on its report on 13 October 2015. Negotiations started in November 2015 and so far 14 trilogues have taken place.



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