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.
The European Market Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture products has issued a 48-page report on EU Organic Aquaculture. Along with a look at the state of organic aquaculture production by country, the report examines organic aquaculture by species, economic performance, and the demand for organic seafood. The report says that organic products accounted for almost 4% of the total aquaculture production and reached approximately 50,000 tonnes in 2015. The main producer of farmed organic aquaculture products is Ireland, with 44% of the EU total organic production followed by Italy (17%), the United Kingdom (7%) and France (6%).
Organic Milk Suppliers Cooperative (OMSCo), comprised of over 200 farmer members across the UK who produce 65 percent of the UK’s organic milk supply, has published the Organic Milk Market Report 2017. The report reviews global demand for organic products and the global organic dairy market, with an emphasis on the UK market and export opportunities. Among the findings: UK organic milk volumes increased by 4.4% in 2016, in contrast to the standard milk category which fell by 1.9% during the same period, and the number of households purchasing organic milk increased 15 percent over the last year.
In an “Overview Report On A Series Of Audits Carried Out in EU Member States to Evaluate Pesticide Residue Control Systems in Organic Production,” the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety found that there is comprehensive risk-based sampling being done along the food chain, and the number of samples exceed what is required. Nevertheless, some shortcomings, including the inconsistency of compliance criteria, impacts enforcement, and the import of organic products from outside the European Union.
Association of Food without Genetic Engineering (Verband Lebensmittel ohne Gentechnik) figures indicate sales of foods without genetic engineering have increased 12.5 percent in the first quarter of 2017, reports Organic-Market.info. Sales of these products are expected to reach 4.4 billion euros in 2017. Dairy products lead the way, and represent 55 percent of sales of food sporting the “Without Genetic Engineering” seal.
In 2016, the brand Bio vom Berg in Tyrol Austria, increased its sales by 23 percent, and sold €8.7 million of organic products from a cooperative of over 600 organic farmers. Approximately 15 percent of the brand’s products are exports, and the focus is regional production for sales within the region.
Although the amount of farmland in the United Kingdom approved for organic agriculture decreased by 3.6 percent in 2016, the amount of land in conversion to organic production is up 22 percent. Permanent pasture represents the largest share of the country’s organic area. UK’s organic food sector is growing consistently, with increases of 7-10 percent annually.
On May 4, 2017, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India notified WTO members of the draft Food Safety and Standards (Organic Foods) Regulations, 2017. Objections, comments, or suggestions by the WTO member countries must be submitted by July 3, 2017.
Ecovia Intelligence (formerly Organic Monitor) reports that recent accounting studies show that sustainable food has lower environmental, social and health impacts than conventional foods. For example, a recent accounting study by EY (formerly Ernst & Young) found that organic apples have lower impacts than conventional apples to the value of EUR 0.20 per kg., and there were similar findings for organic pineapples, tomatoes, pears, bananas, and citrus.
Among the benchmarks of the organic sector, Organic Aoteroa New Zealand lists these as notable in a new promotional flyer:
71 percent of Gen Y buy organic; 64 percent of New Zealanders are willing to pay more for the best organic products; organic grocery sales via supermarkets is up 127 percent; and domestic organic milk sales are up 50 percent since 2014.
The European Union now requires electronic certificates of inspection for imports of organic products. EU TRACES became effective on April 19. U.S. certifiers have an additional six months to adapt to using the system, during which time paper and electronic certificates of inspection will coexist in the marketplace. The system will be fully electronic beginning October 19 after which time organic imports will be covered only by e-certification.