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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

The debate of the EU organic label reform

The European Commission presented a proposal for a decree aimed at regulating organic production, a growing market. But the stringent requirements for the organic label raise many critics. There is little consensus about the tightening of rules governing organic food. While the European Commission presented on March 24th a Proposal for a Regulation to strengthen production rules for organic products, the disparities are many with the agriculture. "Organic products are no longer a niche market. They now account for a turnover of nearly 20 billion Euros per year, "said Ciolos, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development.  Since 2008, their share increased by 8% per year. In the European Union, 500,000 hectares of organic land are cultivated every year says the European Commission. But despite this rapid growth, the demand for organic products is exceeding supply in the EU. The Commission's proposal shall forbid both organic and non-organic agriculture on the same site. The control system will be improved through the mandatory controls on retailers, or the implementation of sanctions when unauthorized substance is detected on organic products. It also provides for the adoption of a system of group certification to help small farmers in the EU to be part of the organic sector. The export of organic products from member countries of the EU will be increased. "Organic products from countries outside the EU are subject to strict specifications established by the European Commission, which guarantees the same quality of product" assures Valérie To from the National Institute for Origin and Quality (INAO ).
Agricultural cooperatives condemn the end of mixing for farms which "will undermine the development of AB conversions and slow agroecology’s development” As well as ending exemptions and minimum annual controls by operator. For Valérie To, from the National Institute for Origin and Quality, this new regulation, however, responds to consumer demand and going in the right direction. "This tightening of regulations for production and control ensures the credibility of the organic label. The European Commission considers it necessary to strengthen the credibility of the label to ensure its sustainability, this is exactly what is needed,"she says.
Source: Euractiv

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