The Organic Trade Association will host a pavilion at BioFach 2018, February 14-17 in Nuremberg, Germany. Participants must promote certified organic product of 51% or more U.S. origin ingredients by value or volume, and provide provide an organic certificate for each product to be exhibited. Register by October 6; preference given to first time exhibitors.
The Organic Trade Association opened a liaison office in Korea, and will launch a new Facebook page to communicate with Korean consumers beginning September 2017. This channel will educate the trade, consumers and media about US organic products, and increase the awareness of USDA Organic Seal, and organic in general. OTA is seeking samples of US produced, USDA certified organic products showcasing the USDA seal, as well as businesses that may be interested in in-person marketing events in Korea. Samples will be sent directly to highly engaged social media users. Contact Monique Marez at the Organic Trade Association for more information.
A report from the USDA Global Agricultural Information Network examines the barriers to exporting US organic products to Taiwan. Taiwan authorities are working to promote organic production and consumption, and increase exports. New organic regulations are expected by the end of the year, and among the provisions the legislation seeks to pressure countries to recognize Taiwan’s organic products by ceasing recognition of other trading partners’ organic products if they do not recognize Taiwan’s organic system as equivalent within one year. Among the barriers to trade, imported organic products must apply to Taiwan authorities for approval to be labeled as organic even if Taiwan has recognized the exporting countries’ organic standards as equivalent. In addition, Taiwan has a de facto zero tolerance for traces of any unapproved substances.
According to a report from the China Chain Store and Franchise Association, over 70 percent of Chinese consumers believe that personal consumption has a direct impact on the environment. ‘Safety and health’ topped the reasons for purchasing products that have the least pollutants and do minimum harm to the environment, with environmental-friendliness and good quality as the next two reasons.
According to the research firm MarketLine and its Global Organic Food report, the global market in organic food expanded between 2012 and 2016 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.9 percent, and is forecast to accelerate to a value of $187.6 billion by 2021, representing a CAGR of 13.8 percent. Sales in the Asia-Pacific region, especially China, are expected to expand more rapidly than in North America. The United States’ share of the global market is expected to shift form 45 percent today to 34 percent in 2021. Increased knowledge of the environmental and health benefits of organic food is expected to drive demand.
Brazil’s Committee on Transparency, Governance, Supervision and Control and Consumer Protection approved a Senate Bill on organic cosmetics. If the bill is approved by the full legislature, organic cosmetics would have their inputs certified as meeting Brazil’s organic regulations.
Products exported from India must meet the country’s National Programme for Organic Production, and a recent survey of businesses by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations calls for similar standards for products sold domestically. Having these standards in place would enable international equivalence agreements and reduce the cost of exports. In addition, the businesses encouraged the government to develop a vision for short and long term plans for regulations for the organic sector. Having such plans in place would stabilize the regulatory environment and spur investment in the organic sector.
About 2.9 million eggs produced in Belgium and the Netherlands, including some organic eggs, were contaminated with the insecticide Fipronil, which is not approved for use with food-producing animals. The contamination may have resulted from tainted cleaning agents. Supermarkets have been removing the eggs from the shelves, and the food authorities have warned that children especially should not eat the eggs in question.
IFOAM—Organics International has released its annual report for 2016. The report examines its activities and spotlights organic economic, advocacy, and social activity worldwide.
July 31, 2017
Organic agriculture represented 7.5 percent of total agricultural land in Germany in 2016, and saw above-average growth of 14.9 percent in land devoted to organic farming. The minister of agriculture has said that his goal is to have 20% of Germany’s farmland as organic to support the country’s growing demand for organic products.
New food labeling requirements will be coming in Canada, and the industry has a five year transition period (until 2022) to comply. Some of the changes include making serving sizes more realistic and consistent, making serving size and calories easier to find and read, adding a new percent daily value for total sugars, updating the list of nutrients, and more.
The Anti Fraud Initiative in collaboration with IFOAM—Organics International will host a workshop on “Improving Integrity of Organic Supply Chains” in Odessa, Ukraine September 21-22, 2017. The main aim of the Anti Fraud Initiative is to improve cross border communication among inspection and certification bodies, trade companies, label organizations and authorities to strengthen organic integrity.
The Best of the Organic Market (BOOM) Awards, selected from nominated products by an independent panel of judges, includes many product categories and retail outlets:
Best Organic Independent Retailer—Better Food Company
Best Organic Online Retailer— Coombe Farm Organic and Ocado
Best Organic Supermarket—Waitrose
July 17, 2017
The State of Organics: Federal-Provincial-Territorial Performance Report 2017 analyzes the existing organic policy frameworks among Canada's federal, provincial and territorial governments. As the first of its kind, the report is a benchmark, demonstrating the current state of affairs.
The report highlights that:
- Gaps in organic regulations persist in some jurisdictions. Jurisdictions with these gaps create an unequal playing field for organic businesses, hinder sector growth and fail to protect consumers.
- Quebec is leading the way by having the longest-standing organic regulations, extensive organic production support, market support and data collection.
- Ontario is falling short. Ontario is the largest organic market in Canada. Yet, there are no provincial regulations and provincial government support is limited and inconsistent.
- Organic data collection systems across the country are limited and inconsistently available.
Alibaba Group recently launched the “Taobao Global U.S. Merchants Network,” offering small businesses a way to reach the more than half a billion consumers on the Chinese e-commerce giant’s platforms.
The network will serve as a centralized matchmaking platform for U.S. small businesses to connect with merchants and distributors on Alibaba’s Taobao Global shopping site. Taobao Global is a dedicated cross-border e-commerce channel within the larger Taobao Marketplace, which is China’s large mobile-commerce destination.
July 10, 2017
After three years of debate and negotiations, the Maltese presidency and the European Parliament reached a preliminary agreement for overhauling the European Union’s rules for organic production and labeling. In order for the rule changes to be enacted on July 1, 2020, they will need to be formally endorsed by the Council and Parliament. Among other changes, the new rules will include risk-based controls and checks on retailers, cover additional products, allow group certification, and more uniform approach to pesticide contamination.
The government has promised to keep products other than arms and ammunition from the world’s poorest countries duty free after Britain leaves the European Union.
In 2015, the UK imported £19.2 billion of goods from developing countries, including:
- 79% (or £186 million) of all tea imports – enough for 34.9 billion cups of tea
- Over 22% of all the UK’s coffee imports, valued at around £131 million. Both Indonesia and Vietnam exported more than £30 million into the UK, and Ethiopia exported over £15 million
- £7.8 billion in textiles – accounting for 45% of all the UK’s textile and apparel imports
US organic products that are imported to Korea under the US-Korea Organic Equivalence agreement no longer need additional documentation to prove they do not contain GMO ingredients. On June 9, 2017, Korea’s Ministry of Food & Drug Safety (MFDS) notified USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Seoul of their decision to exempt US organic processed products from the mandatory biotech labeling requirement in Korea. In order to receive an exemption from mandatory biotech labeling before this decision, US organic processed products were required to be accompanied by documents stating that the organic products do not contain biotech ingredients.
The Swiss organic market grew 7.8 percent in 2016, three percentage points more than 2015, and 386 more farms are converting to organic. Organic farms represent 13.4 percent of all agricultural land in Switzerland.
The Organic Processing and Trade Association (OPTA) is a new organization to encourage organic food and farming in Europe, and to support international organic trade. All companies dedicated to organic trade and processing are welcome to join.