Organic production and labelling of organic products

The Commission wants to harmonise the production, labelling and control of organic products. Yet, farmers do not agree with the new standardised threshold for pesticides.

How did we get here?

According to studies by the European Commission the organic production land area in the EU has doubled over the last ten years while demand for organic products even quadrupled. The organic market is not developing sustainably and the Commission fears that the environmental benefits of organic farming are slowly diminishing. Labelling rules for organic products are full of exceptions and there is unfair competition between farmers within the EU and outside of it.

 

Why is this important for me?

Because it tries to make sure that you actually eat an organic product when it is labeled as "organic". And that the standards for this organic production is based on certain principles. The Commission initiated a proposal to create fair competition between producers through standardised thresholds for pesticides etc. The current complicated labelling rule with many exceptions are watering down organic production rules and consequently consumers don't know what they are actually buying. The new regulation wants to streamline production and labelling.

 

What's the content?

The new rules shall contain the following points:

Find more details on the final content of the agreed rules.

 

What's happening with this legislation in the future?

The EP vote on the report and on the more than 1.300 amendments took place in October 2015 in the Parliament's Committee on Agriculture. Negotiations between Parliament and Council were taking place since autumn 2015 and were initally expected to be wrapped up by 2016. However, some EU countries (e.g. Germany) were strongly opposing the propsed introduction of binding thresholds for pesticide traces on organic food and the talks were deadlocked for some time.

After 20 months of negotiations the institutions managed to reach an agreement - quite surprisingly - in June 2017. The text agreed by MEPs, the Maltese Presidency in the Council and the Commission will now have to be formally accepted by the Agriculture committee, the full Parliament and the Council before it can be signed, published in the EU’s Official Journal and enter into force. The new rules should apply from 1 July 2020.

 

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