Open to Imports
 

Policy Information

Government Agency(s)/Competent Authority

Authorized Government Agency(s): 

European Union (EU) Member States retain the authority to determine additional requirements for production within their country. They can also determine exceptions due to catastrophic circumstances, but cannot restrict access to products in compliance with EU regulations. In addition, the EC delegates most authority for the administration of organic programs to the Member States.

Organic Regulations and/or Standards

Name(s) of Regulation and/or Standard: 

The European Union has an Equivalency Agreement with the United States.

General requirements; repeal of previous organic regulations: EC 834/2007 (.pdf in English)

Detailed rules on production, labeling and control including its first amendment on production rules for organic yeast: EC 889/2008 (.pdf in English); amended by (EU) No 1358/2014 (see below).

Rules concerning imported products: EC1235/2008 (.pdf in English)
Feburary 2013 amendment concerning imported products: (EU) No 125/2013 (.pdf in English)

Rules on organic aquaculture and seaweed production - Amendment in 2009 - implemented in 2010: EC 710/2009 (.pdf in English)
Organic aquaculture and seaweed production updates (EU) No 1358/2014 effective January 1, 2015.

Detailed rules on organic wine: Regulation No 203/2012 (web; in English)

Date of Implementation: 

1992

Regulation and/or Standard Scope: 

EU standards cover crop, livestock and processing. Farm and handling plans are required, as well as detailed record keeping and detailed livestock feed standards. Specific standards are included for aquaculture, seaweed, yeast, bees, and mushrooms. Criteria for determining allowed materials include consistency with the objectives and principles of organic farming, and materials must be of plant, animal, microbial or mineral origin. Synthetic substances, however, may be used when they replicate the natural sources and when they are approved for organic production in the EU.

Imported Products Requirements

Imported Products: 

EU requires that imported organic products meet EU standards. Non-EU organic products must include country of origin labeling if they wish to use the EU organic logo. Use of the EU organic logo is not required for products from outside the EU.

Certification and Accreditation

Certification: 

The EC requires organic certification for all those involved in production and handling, including importers. EC requires ALL processing operations to be certified, even if those products are below the 95% threshold for the "Organic" label.

EC delegates the authority for investigations, non compliance, mediation, and testing, as well as reporting, exclusion from organic sale, emergency treatments and appeals to the Member States in accordance with their respective control system plans.

The EC allows private sector standards for the product categories, such as cosmetics and textiles, which are not fully regulated by the EC.  In the EU certifiers (control bodies) can require additional organic crop, livestock and processing standards in association with the use of their certification seal.

List of control authorities and control bodies operating in third countries 

Other control bodies

Accreditation: 

Each EU Member State accredits certification bodies. Additionally, the EU vests the authority for exchanging information on "infringements and irregularities" (enforcement) to certifiers through the Member State control systems as the vehicle to remove non-compliant product from the marketplace. However, it is not clear how, or when, an organic certificate can or will be revoked. In addition to the EC organic regulations for certification and accreditation procedures, the requirements of EN 45011 and ISO Guide 65 for accreditation must be met.

Definitions

Review definitions of terminology included in this website.