- 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
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
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
Catalonia, an autonomous region in Spain, has developed guidance on the areas of the EU regulations that are unclear. More: Press release on Catalonia organic regulations interpretations (Web site; in Catalan)
USDA's GAIN Report Spain Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards - Narrative (2020)
USDA's GAIN Report Exporter Guide (2020)
USDA's GAIN Report Spain Food Processing Ingredients (2019)
USDA's GAIN Report Retail Foods (2019)
USDA's GAIN Report Food Service - Hotel Restaurant Institutional (2019)
USDA's GAIN Report FAIRS Export Certificate Report (2019)
USDA’s GAIN Report Spain Exporter Guide (2015)
USDA’s GAIN Report Spain Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards - Narrative (2015)
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