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New EU regulation on organic food production moves toward adoption

Regulators and legislators are moving forward with efforts to adopt new requirements applicable to the production of organic food products sold in the European Union (EU).

The new EU Regulation addressing organic food production was endorsed by a wide margin in late November by the EU’s Council’s Special Committee on Agriculture, following approval by the EU Parliament earlier this year. Once adopted, the new Regulation will enter into force on 1 January 2021, which will give organic food producers approximately three years to adopt the Regulation’s new framework.

Key aspects of the EU’s Regulation on organic food production include:

  • The supply chains of all organic food operators will be subject to rigorous, on-site audits annually for at least for three years. The frequency of audits can be reduced to once every two years in instances where no issues are identified in three successive annual audits;
  • Food producers will be required to adopt precautionary measures to minimise the risk of contamination of organic food products with unauthorised fertilisers or pesticides. Producers risk losing organic status for their products if precautionary measures are not followed, or if any identified contamination is determined to be deliberate;
  • Imported organic food products will be required to meet the same set of requirements as those applicable to EU-produced products. The use of so-called “equivalence” rules for non-EU producers will be phased out within five years.
  • EU member states must permit market access to organic foods that comply with EU rules, even in cases where the member state has applied more stringent thresholds for non-authorised substances;

The complete text of the Commission’s fact sheet on the EU’s new organic Regulation is available here.

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