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European Council endorses new rules for organic farming

FBR Staff Writer Published 22 November 2017

A new set of rules for organic farming has been endorsed by the European Council (EC) with an aim to provide uniform quality organic food items to consumers across the continent.

The EC says that the new rules will simplify and harmonise several rules made in the past relating to organic food production in the European Union (EU) and in non-EU countries.

For consumers, the new framework will help them with greater choice with the new rules covering a broader range of organic food and non-food items than before with the inclusion of salt, cork, essential oils among others.

According to the Council, the new rules which will be an overhaul of the original rules made 20 years back will end the existing à la carte system of exceptions. Further, they will be applied to all organic producers and products sold across the EU, irrespective of being produced domestically or imported.

Also, there will be stricter precautionary measures contained in the new rules with an objective to cut down the risk of accidental contamination by unauthorised substances like pesticides.

EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan said: “What everyone agreed on was that the current rules – which are 20 years old now – were not fit for purpose and were likely to hinder rather than help the development of this growing sector which is worth around €27 billion, and has grown by 125% over the last decade.

“We must support this growth by ensuring that the sector operates with appropriate legislation. This growth will be helped by smaller producers, who will now be allowed to join group certification schemes so as to benefit from lower certification costs.”

Adding further, Hogan said that organic farmers will now get access to a new market of organic seeds which will enhance biodiversity, crop sustainability and will promote innovation.

The new rules endorsed by the Council will be tabled at the European Parliament to seek official mandate from the member states. Subject to favorable voting in the parliament, the new regulations for organic farming will come into effect from 1 January 2021.

The EC believes that there is adequate time for producers, operators and trade partners to ready themselves to the new framework before it is implemented.


Image: The European Council is looking to introduce new rules for organic farming in 2021. Photo: courtesy of KEKO64/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.