Dr David Jukes, The University of Reading, UK

..... ..... ..... ..... ..... .....

Food Law News - EU - 2015

Council Press Release, 16 March 2015

ORGANIC - Organic farming: Council discussions regarding updating legislative controls

The following is an extract from the minutes of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council Meeting held on the 16th March 2015:

The Council held an orientation debate on the proposal on organic production (6975/1/15 REV 1 [See:]).

For the presence of non authorised substances in organic agricultural products (article 20 of the proposal), members states broadly considered that an harmonised EU approach would be the best option. However, they expressed diverging views on how to achieve this Some countries would support imposing legal threshold limits as initially proposed by the Commission, while others would prefer to rely instead on the existing system of control in the production process.

As regards the import system, most of the member states were in favour of a gradual shift from the existing equivalence system to a compliance regime as proposed by the Presidency (article 31 of the proposal). Third countries would then have to apply the EU standards but some derogations and an appropriate transition period would allow a smooth adaptation.

Concerning the control system for organic agriculture, delegations were divided on the mechanism governing the frequency of the controls. Many EU countries would like to keep mandatory annual physical inspections but a risk-based approach could be used to set further controls if necessary. However, others were in favour of setting the frequency of controls according only to a risk basis. In addition, many delegations supported the Presidency to have all specific provisions on controls included into the regulation on organic farming and not in the ongoing official control regulation (currently under examination by the Council).

On the basis of this debate and the work in the Council's preparatory bodies, the Presidency expects to reach a general approach on this issue at the Council in May before launching negotiations with the European Parliament.

The proposal on organic farming aims to review the existing legislation on organic production and labelling of organic products and amend the regulation on official controls (not yet adopted) with the objective of removing obstacles to the development of organic production in the EU, guaranteeing fair competition for farmers and operators and improving consumer confidence in organic products.



To go to main Foodlaw-Reading Index page, click here.