Mexico's National Service for Agroalimentary Public Health, Safety and Quality (SENASICA) is not yet enforcing its organic regulations for import from countries where they have made progress on equivalency agreements, including the United States, according to the Organic Trade Association. The new regulations were slated for implementation in April 2017, it will take at least several more months to fully implement the regulations. Mexico has assured the USDA that they do not intend to interrupt trade in the meantime, effectively postponing the requirement for import certificates for organic products.
In an April 27 meeting with Mexican retailers, SENASICA outlined its regulatory plans, including removing the requirement that organic certifiers must have a physical office in Mexico, revising the regulations to allow products from third countries that are certified to the SENASICA standard to display the SAGARPA organic seal, and developing new inspection procedures to implement the requirement for SENASICA to verify the organic certificate and document of control. Until new regulation are published in the Diario Oficial (in no less than 2-3 months), there will be no change to the current procedures to import U.S. organic products. Representatives from the Federal Attorney's Office for the Consumer (PROFECO) confirmed that they only conduct enforcement based on the Spanish language version of the label.
Effective April 26, 2017, Japan unilaterally recognizes imported feed that is certified organic from countries that share an organic equivalency arrangement with Japan (i.e. the United States, Argentina, Australia, Canada, the European Union, New Zealand, and Switzerland) as certified for use in the production of organic compound feed, or for feeding to organic livestock.
Australia and the United States recognize each other’s food safety and regulatory systems as comparable, after five years’ work. Most canned foods, seafood, fresh fruit and vegetables, fruit juices, confectionery and baked goods are included in the agreement. Although milk and milk products in the the US Pasteurized Milk Ordinance are not included, cheese and other non-Grade “A” dairy products are included.
A new survey of Mexican consumers from Culinary Visions Panel showed that 61 percent are willing to compromise on taste if they are eating something healthy, compared to only 25 percent of consumers in the United States and Canada willing to make that compromise. In addition, 76 percent of Mexicans said that sharing a meal with family is important, and 69 percent said the act of preparing a meal is important. Offering ‘speed scratch’ products is one way packaged food companies could tap into the Mexican market.
Japan has proposed changes to country of origin labeling for certain processed products. The draft amendment explains that the country of origin labeling requirement for ingredients will be expanded to include the heaviest ingredient in all processed foods domestically produced in Japan. See this GAIN report for details.
Domestic organic food sales are estimated at US$200 million, and growing at 30-40 percent annually. Concerns about food safety, coupled with increased disposable incomes for many households and improved availability of organic products, particularly via ecommerce, are factors in the sector’s growth, reports Pure & Eco India. The sector’s growth is also attracting investors.
Bio Suisse reports that sales of organic products were up 7.8 percent in 2016, compared to an increase of 5.2 percent in 2015, and were valued at CHF 2.505 billion (US$2.5 billion). Overall, the market share for organic products is 8.4 percent. Sales are growing faster than average in Western Switzerland. Half of consumers buy organic products at least several times per week, and per capita spending on organic products is CHF 299 (US$298). Eggs are the best-selling organic product category, followed by vegetables and fresh bread.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has proposed Food Safety and Standards (Organic Foods) Regulations, 2017, and those draft regulations are open for comment. March 31, 2017
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) now has answers to frequently asked questions concerning import procedures on its web site. Topics include: Labeling requirements for imported food items, pre-requisites for Importing Food into India, steps in the import process, shelf-life requirements of imported food, and more. Some of these topics had recently changed with the Food Safety and Standards (Food Import) Regulations, 2017.
As part of its efforts to develop a harmonized animal welfare inspections for organic farms, the AWARE Project is working with over 215 representatives from certifiers, associations and universities across Europe. The group recently agreed on animal welfare criteria and species-specific inspection concepts. Supported by the European Union, the project plans to offer a training curriculum for organic inspectors so that any shortcoming in animal welfare on organic farms are identified and corrected.
Two organic brands (Migros Bio and Bio Suisse) were among top ten of brands for people aged 15-25, based on a survey of over 4,000 people conducted by the advertising agency Havas. This is the first time these organic brands have appeared in the top ten of the 505 brands in the survey.
New technology using different types of cooling systems can grow organic vegetables and fruits year-round, even in the heat of summer, reports Gulf Times. Demand for organic products is increasing throughout the Gulf region, and one estimate suggests that 20 percent of the vegetables consumed each day is imported organic products.
The United Arab Emirates’ Ministry of Climate Change and Environment is encouraging local organic agriculture by subsidizing farming equipment, providing expertise, and connecting local farmers with retailers. Organic farmland in the UAE has increased to 45,890 acres in 2016, up from 2360 acres in 2009. Zucchini, cucumbers, tomato and eggplants are among the local crops on the rise.
In order to enhance its position in Spain’s €1 billion organic market, retailer El Corte Inglés plans to have 20 Biosphere stores-within-a-store in place this fall. The Biosphere units will offer over 1500 product lines including fresh produce, dairy, packaged food and personal care products,a nd will have dedicated staff available to answer questions. In addition, the retailer plans to offer its own organic label.
Indonesia repealed National Agency for Drug and Food Control (BPOM) Regulation No. HK 00.06.52.0100 of 2008 on the Control of Organic Processed Food, and added new regulations for organic processed food (Regulation of the Head of NA-DFC No.1 of 2017 on Organic Food); the update includes a chart of materials allowed for use in processed organic foods.
The organic market in Switzerland grew 5 percent in 2015, and the Swiss lead in per capita spending on organic at about €260. Fresh products, valued at €1 billion, are the top selling category, and eggs and bread are the top selling products.
Retail sales of organic products were valued at €1.3 billion in 2015, up form 1.2 billion in 2014, and represented 7 percent of the market. Organic food service, valued at €80 million, represents 1.8 percent of total food service turnover.
Scan data from Nielsen show that sales of organic products in supermarkets and department stores were up 20 percent in 2015 to €870 million. Meanwhile, AssoBio, Italy’s organic industry association, estimates organic product sales in totaled €4.2 billion in 2015, with €1.5 billion of that attributable to exports.
Based on the exports that are tracked by the limited set of Harmonized Tariff Schedule codes dedicated specifically for organic products, US organic exports are up a half of a percent in 2016, and totaled $547.6 million. US organic imports are valued at $1.7 billion. Leading organic exports include: fresh apples, fresh grapes, and lettuce. Meanwhile, the Organic Trade Association continues to advocate for additional Harmonized Tariff Schedule codes dedicated specifically for organic products.
Key food, nutrition and consumer trends compiled by FoodNavigator include:
- Japan’s population is aging, as 36 percent of the population will be age 65 or over by 2040.
- Superfoods and functional foods continue to garner consumers’ interest. Examples of superfoods include spirulina, hemp seeds and teff. Meanwhile, functional foods that address sleep, stress, eye health and joint health are some of the emerging products.
- Healthy beverage sales are expected to grow. For example, sales of organic dairy are expected to have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 15 percent through 2021.
- Interest in sports nutrition is growing, and nearly 15 percent CAGR until 2022 is expected. Products of interest include protein powders and nutrition bars.