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Policy Information

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).
Regulation (EU) 2019/2164, which amends Regulation (CE) 889/2008, changed some of the lists of inputs allowed in organic agriculture and processing.

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

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.

Beginning February 3, 2020, port of entry health authorities will only endorse a certificate of inspection if the certifier issued it prior to export. Certain sections of the certificates (boxes 13, 16, and 17) may be filled in with provisional information, since certifiers can not verify all of the data before the product is exported. The provisional information must be confirmed/updated within 10 days, and before the certificate can be endorsed at the port of entry.

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 for equivalence 

Control bodies in the European Union

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.

Additional Information

http://www.organic-europe.net/country-info.html

USDA's GAIN Report Annual Exporter Guide (2019)
USDA's GAIN Report The Belgian Food Retail Market (2018)
USDA's GAIN Report Belgium Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards (2020)
USDA's GAIN Report FAIRS Export Certificate Report Annual 2019 (2020)

USDA’S GAIN Report New EU Organic Regulations for Early 2018 (2017)
USDA’S GAIN Report Electronic Certificate of Inspection Required for EU Organics Trade (2017)
USDA’S GAIN Report Good Prospects for US Organic Exports in the EU (2020)
USDA’S GAIN Report U.S. Organic Food Exporters Set to Double Sales to EU (2019)
USDA’s GAIN Report Plenty of opportunities for U.S. organics in the EU market (2015)
USDA’s GAIN Report Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards Country Report (2020)
USDA’s GAIN Report EU Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards - Certification (2020)
USDA’S GAIN Report EU-28 Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards - Narrative (2017)
USDA’s GAIN Report EU-28 EU-U.S. Organic Trade Update - January 2014

Definitions

Definitions

Term

Definition

Health and Wellness

Health and wellness is the aggregation of organic packaged food and beverages, fortified/functional packaged food and beverages, naturally healthy packaged food and beverages, better for you packaged food and beverages and food intolerance products.

Organic packaged foods and beverages

This category includes packaged food & beverages that are certified organic by an approved certification body. Organic production is based on:

• A system of farming that maintains and replenishes soil fertility without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers.
• Organic food & beverages are minimally processed without artificial ingredients, preservatives or irradiation.
• The use of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organism) is prohibited. “Certified Organic” means the item has been grown according to strict uniform standards that are verified by independent state or private organizations.
• Depending on the country, such products are called ‘organic’, ‘biological’ or ‘ecological’: For organic products to be included under Euromonitor definitions, the organic aspect needs to form part of positioning/marketing of the product. This is an aggregation of organic baby food, bakery, confectionery, dairy, ice cream, oils and fats, ready meals, rice, sauces, dressings and condiments, snack bars, soups, spreads, sweet and savory snacks and other organic food.

Note that fresh food products or individual ingredients are not included in this definition.

Compound annual growth rate (CAGR)

The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is the average annual growth rate over a specified period of time. For instance, the CAGR consumption of from 2016 – 2019 will be the average growth rates across these three years.

USDA GATS data clarification

The data presented in table 2.4 represents the dollar values of the top 5 organic commodities as well as of the total organic exports of the trade partner for the period 2016-2019 as per the United States Department of Agriculture’s Global Agricultural Trade System, a database consisting of international agricultural, fish, forest and textile products trade statistics dating from the inception of the Harmonized coding system in 1989 to present.