Food Law News - EU - 2007

Commission Press Release (IP/07/807), 12 June 2007

ORGANIC FOODS - New Regulation to foster the further development of Europe 's organic food sector

European Union agriculture ministers today reached political agreement on a new regulation on organic production and labelling, which will be simpler for both farmers and consumers. The new rules set out a complete set of objectives, principles and basic rules for organic production, and include a new permanent import regime and a more consistent control regime. The use of the EU organic logo will be mandatory, but it can be accompanied by national or private logos. The place where the products were farmed has to be indicated to inform consumers. Food will only be able to carry an organic logo if at least 95 percent of the ingredients are organic. But non-organic products will be entitled to indicate organic ingredients on the ingredients list only. The use of genetically modified organisms will remain prohibited. It will now be made explicit that the general limit of 0.9 percent for the accidental presence of authorised GMOs will also apply to organic products. There will be no changes in the list of authorised substances for organic farming. The new rules also create the basis for adding rules on organic aquaculture, wine, seaweed and yeasts. In the second part of this revision exercise, and building on this new regulation, the existing strict detailed rules will be transferred from the old to the new Regulation.

Mariann Fischer Boel, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, said: “This is an excellent agreement which will help consumers to recognize organic products throughout the EU more easily and give them assurances of precisely what they are buying. Organic food is a successful and growing market and I hope that this new set of rules will provide the framework to allow this growth to continue – through a combination of market demand and the entrepreneurship of European farmers."

The new regulation will:

In 2005, in the European Union of 25 Member States, around 6 million hectares were either farmed organically or were being converted to organic production. This marks an increase of more than 2 per cent compared with 2004. Over the same period, the number of organic operators grew by more than 6 percent.

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