After extensive review and public comment, Canada is poised to release an updated version of its standards. The country’s climate for agriculture has driven many of the changes, which seek to make organic agriculture possible under challenging conditions for some products. Livestock, crops, greenhouse and honey production and the permitted substances list will all be among the changes.
The USDA Foreign Agricultural Service will host a virtual trade event for US candy and snack food businesses interested in trade with Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, or the United Arab Emirates. Importers in those countries are usually interested in new and innovative candy and snack foods to introduce to a wealthy, multicultural consumer base. Apply by November 12, 2020 deadline for the January 12-14, 2021 event.
The European Commission introduced legislation that would change the implementation date of the new EU organic regulations from January 1, 2021 to January 1 2022. The legislation is expected to be adopted by early 2021.
The European Union notified the World Trade Organization about the opportunity to comment on specific components of the new organic regulations. The current notifications are:
- EU 746 - Requirements for groups of operators (comment deadline 11/17/2020)
- EU 748 - Traceability/ compliance in organic production and labelling (comment deadline 11/17/2020)
- EU 747 - Controls on groups of operators (comment deadline 11/17/2020)
- EU 754 - Production rules on sprouted seeds and chicory heads, aquaculture feed and treatments (comment deadline 12/21/2020)
Learn more about comment procedures.
Stakeholders can comment on a draft of regulations designed to update Australia’s regulations for organic products exported from there. Among other changes, the proposed rules would increasing the scope of cosmetic products to include substances used for domestic animals; include provisions to ensure that current certification bodies can continue to issue government certificates under the new legislation and removed references to approved auditors as they will not be required since they will be departmental employees. Comment by November 5, 2020.
The United Kingdom’s Department of Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs told the Organic Trade Board that, as part of the Brexit process, the UK will continue to recognize the European Union for trade in organic products until the end of 2021. There has been no corresponding move from the EU toward products from the UK. Selling UK organic products in the EU after December 31, 2020 will require either a Free Trade Agreement, or certification to European Commission regulations by certifiers with appropriate credentials.
According to data from Agrarmarkt Austria Marketing (AMA), Austrians spent about 20 percent more on fresh organic food in the first half of 2020, compared to the first half of 2019. Milk and egg purchases led the way, but were slightly less that 2019. Other categories with above average sales include potatoes, vegetables and fruit yogurt. Austrians spend €2.06 billion on organic food in 2019, with 15 percent of sales via specialty shops and direct sales, while nearly 3/4 of the sales were in grocery stores. Within the grocery channel, 28 percent of sales were in discounters, while full-range stores sold 72 percent.
The Philippines legislature has agreed on a bill which will amend the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010 to create the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS), which will make organic certification more affordable for small farms and fisheries. The bill will also provide training and incentives for PGS groups.
After 16 years of effort, Uganda’s Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries launched the nation’s National Organic Agriculture Policy on September 29, 2020. The policy enables the Ministry to regulate, coordinate and harmonize Uganda’s organic agriculture sector. Uganda has 262,282 hectares of land under organic farming, with 210,352 certified farmers producing 115,062 tons of organic produce.
As part of its ongoing strategic plan, Australian Organic Limited, the peak industry body in the country, continues to push for domestic organic regulations to facilitate international trade agreements and simplify business. Currently, Australia’s organic regulations only cover products for export.
Organic acreage in Quebec increase 65 percent from 2017 to 2019, while organic acreage in other Canadian provinces remains stable or is increasing slightly. Provincial incentives payments are one of the reasons for the growth in Quebec. Nearly 40 percent of Canada’s organic farmers are in Quebec, which is the only province that pays farmers to switch to organic methods.
The US Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) plans to expand the types of meat, poultry and egg product labels available for generic approval because the label is in compliance with regulations, and to stop evaluating labels that are eligible for generic approval. In the proposed rule, the following labels could no longer be voluntarily submitted for approval:
- Labels on products for export
- Labels that list organic ingredients in the ingredients statement
- Labels that display geographical landmarks
- Labels that identify the absence of certain ingredients, such as ‘preservative free’ or ‘made without soy’
- Labels of products that receive voluntary FSIS inspection
Comments on the proposed rule, ID FSIS-2019-0019-0001, are due by November 13.
For the first time, the share of organic retail products will hit 10 Percent in Austria. The average household there bought 97 euros worth of fresh organic products in the first half of 2020, and increase of 17 percent.
Organic food sales in the United Kingdom increased during the pandemic lockdown, with bananas, chicken, eggs and wine with some of the highest sales growth. Overall, organic food and drink sales grew by 6.1 percent in the year ending May 2020. Organic food and beverage sales are expected to reach £2.6 billion by the end of 2020.
Sales of organic products in UK supermarkets have seen a growth rate nearly double that of non-organic food and drink. Organic products have had a year-over-year growth rate of 6.1 percent, and grew even more in the first weeks of the pandemic lockdown. The organic sector is likely to exceed is projected market value of £2.5 billion by the end of 2020. Organic product categories with higher growth rates include: preserves and spreads (up 18 percent), beef (up 15 percent), eggs (up 15 percent), sparking wine (up 47 percent), and fruit, especially bananas. Some of the shift is attributed to concerns arising from the pandemic resulting in people valuing food more.
The European Union adopted its updated Organics Regulation in 2018. The Regulation is set to enter into force on January 1st, 2021. The Agricultural Committee in the European Parliament and other stakeholders within the organic sector have called for the new Regulation to be delayed, citing a need for more time to prepare for the changes that the new Regulation will bring. The European Commission and Member States already held several discussions on a possible delay of the regulation’s entry into force but no decision has been made yet.
The North-South Food Link virtual trade event, to be held October 1, is designed to establish connections and increase agricultural trade from the United States to Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Colombia.
Participating US exporters will connect one-on-one with potential buyers through virtual business-to-business meetings set up in advance by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service and learn about trade and economic conditions through targeted market briefings and data analysis. Sign up by September 1, 2020.
Beginning January 1, 2021, India will require certain imported food products to be accompanied with a certificate indicating that the food’s origins are not genetically modified. The 24 products covered by the new mandate include alfalfa, apples, Argentina canola, beans, chicory, cowpea, eggplant, flax seed, corn, melon, papaya, pineapple, plum, potato, rice, safflower, soybeans, squash, sugar beets, sugar cane, sweet peppers, tomatoes, and wheat. According to USDA, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India further clarified verbally that the order does not apply to either processed food products prepared with any of the specific commodities or animal feed.
Aug. 21, 2020
Taiwan is the fifth largest export market for U.S. organic products, reaching over $90 million in sales in 2019. Thanks to the May 2020 equivalence arrangement between U.S. and Taiwan, U.S. organic sales in Taiwan are forecast to grow by almost 50 percent between 2020 to 2025.
Based on surveys that showed shoppers shied away from foods with additives labeled as ‘artificial’ or ‘synthetic,’ Japan will ban the use of those terms on food labels. Additives such as sweeteners, colors, preservatives, flavors, and fragrances will no longer be described as artificial or synthetic. Food manufacturers have until March 31, 2022 to comply with the change.