Australia updated its National Standard for Organic and
Bio-Dynamic Produce. Edition 3.8, in effect January 1 , 2023, incorporates changes on:
semen sexing in livestock intended for milk production
Sodium Hydroxide used as a pH adjuster for Cosmetics and Skincare
Wine Production (and applicable appendices).
Edition 3.8 also has edits relating to administration changes, Machinery of Government changes, and structure changes for readability and access purposes.
A new Schedule B export code for organic dates and 12 new Harmonized Tariff Schedule organic-specific codes will go into effect January 1, 2023. Codes include:
HTS 0713.20.2090: Approved a breakout for certified organic chickpeas
Schedule B 0804.10.0000: Approved a stat line for exports of certified organic dates.
HTS 0804.10.2000: Approved a breakout for imports of certified organic dates packed in units weighing (with immediate container, if any) not more than 4.6 kg.
HTS 1006.20.2000: Approved a breakout for certified organic basmati rice.
HTS 1206.00.0061 and 1206.00.0069: Breakouts were approved for “Sunflower seeds, whether or not broken; Other than for use as oil stock; Other; For human use; In-shell; Certified organic” and for “Sunflower seeds, whether or not broken; Other than for use as oil stock; Other; For human use; Other than in-shell; Certified organic”
HTS 1207.40.0000: Approved breakout for certified organic sesame seeds.
HTS 1512.11.0020: Approved breakout for crude oil, certified organic sunflower-seed oil.
HTS 1512.19.0020: Approved breakout for other than crude oil certified organic sunflower-seed oil.
HTS 1702.30.4040: Approved breakout for certified organic glucose syrup.
HTS 1702.30.4080: Approved breakout for certified organic glucose.
HTS 1702.60.4020: Approved breakout for certified organic fructose syrup.
HTS 2304.00.0000: Approved breakout for certified organic “Oilcake and other solid residues, whether or not ground or in the form of pellets, resulting from the extraction of soybean oil.”
HTS 2923.20.2000: Approved doing a single breakout for “Certified organic lecithins.”
The Organic Trade Association advocated for the changes.
The Department of Agriculture in the Cordillera Administrative Region provided composting equipment to 11 organic farming groups to cut the cost of food production and encourage use of organic fertilizers. The kits included a shredder, compost tea brewers, and African night crawlers.
Over 1000 farmers, especially farmers in the Baltic region, have received training in organic agriculture practices through a program funded by the TaiwanBusiness-European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Technical Cooperation Fund. Taiwanese grants through the TaiwanBusiness-EBRD Technical Cooperation Fund are directed towards sustainable resource management, intelligent transportation systems, the information technology-related knowledge economy, and advisory programs for smaller businesses.
Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will encourage the production of organic fertilizers from by-products of farming, aquaculture, agricultural product processing, and domestic waste, with the aim of using 25% organic fertilizers in the next three years. Using the fertilizers will help develop the production and use of organic products and contribute to sustainability.
Brazil depends on international suppliers to meet its demand for food processing ingredients, especially specialty products with high added value. These products offer significant opportunities for U.S. companies to supply Brazilian food manufacturers looking to meet the needs of a growing health-conscious consumer market. Whey, milk albumin, casein, alternative proteins, flavorings, vegetable fats (including oils), and frozen fruits may hold particularly attractive growth potential for U.S. exporters.
In newly updated regulations from Japan’s Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), companies importing products to Japan must now assign a well-trained and knowledgable person to ensure the receipt, storage and packing of organic products maintains all organic requirements. In addition, the Organic Japanese Agriculture Standards (JAS) label on products must now meet specified size parameters and be attached on a conspicuous location on every organic product.
A coalition of Mexican lawmakers wants to phase out 183 chemicals used in pesticides by 2024. Mexico’s agrochemical manufacturers’ union estimates that if it were passed, such a ban would eliminate 60% of the pesticides currently registered in Mexico. The bill first needs to make it out of committees in the Mexican senate, and then pass a vote there and in the lower house.
After a series of unresolved noncompliances at the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA), the National Organic Program issued a Notice of Noncompliance and Proposed Suspension in February for the TDA’s accreditation as an organic certifier. TDA’s appeal was rejected in August, but they continue to provide some organic certification services until the case is fully resolved. If the suspension moves forward, TDA would only be eligible to request reinstatement after it completes a one-year suspension of organic certification services. See the NOP’s August appeal decision.
The Canada Organic Trade Association recently published two reports on the organic markets in British Columbia and Ontario. The reports combine consumer research, sales figures and trade data to provide valuable insight into consumer behavior and preferences, market size and growth trends. For example, in British Columbia, 68% of grocery shoppers purchased organic groceries weekly in 2020, slightly above the national average of 64%.
Production costs for Dutch tomatoes have risen 20% and the price for tomatoes on the vine is expected to rise considerably this winter.
Ukraine prohibited the cultivation of GMO crops since 2007, and is considering updating its regulations, due in part to an underground trade in GMO products. The 2007 law lacked a control mechanism and contains inconsistencies, said the agriculture ministry. They have not yet determined if the regulations would be stricter or less strict.
Increased supply, organic farm transition support in nearby countries, and higher energy costs are leading to reduced sales for at least one Belgian farmer, despite an excellent harvest of organic apples and pears this season.
In order to reduce packaging waste, China has expanded its rules by including more food categories in its packaging reduction efforts. Along with festive foods such as mooncakes and rice dumplings, the rules now cover fresh foods, health-focused food, takeaway foods and foods purchased via e-commerce. As a result, a multi-ministry government effort is underway to provide technical assistance and implementation.
Demand for cage-free eggs in Chain is expected to increase by 1.8 billion eggs annually, thanks in part to commitments from retailers and food brands to go cage-free. The China Animal Health and Food Safety Alliances and the China Chain Store and Franchise Association have formal standards for the cage-free designation. A 2021 survey found that 75% of Chinese consumers would prefer to purchase form brands that use cage-free eggs.
Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries reported that its most recent study found no evidence of GMO genes spreading into potentially crossable related species, and concluded that locally grown non-GMO crops are unlikely to be affected by GM crops. They intend to continue the study. Consumers in Japan see GMO foods as a health risk.
Germany’s Federal Cabinet adopted the draft ACT on Animal Husbandry Labelling, which was introduced in June, moving the country one step closer to mandatory labels describing how animals were raised. The first labels will be for fresh pork products, with other species and products to follow. Labels will differentiate between five production scenarios: Indoor housing, indoors with space, indoors with fresh air, outdoor runs/free range, and organic.
The Act will go to parliament for approval.
Taiwan’s metro operator worked with a technology company to install an organic vegetable garden inside the underground stations to boost sustainability. The produce is used in meals sold to commuters from a nearby kiosk.
With the hope that yields will increase in the face of the worst drought in 40 years, Kenya has lifted a ban on cultivating and importing GMO corn. In November 2012, the country prohibited the open cultivation and importing of food crops and animal feed produced through biotech innovations, but approved use of a GMO cotton resistant to African bollworm in 2019.
The US Food and Drug Administration has proposed changes to what counts as ‘healthy’ when the term is used on food labels. The proposal requires that food products contain a certain amount of food from at least one of the food groups or subgroups recommended by the Dietary Guidelines, 2020-2025 and limits certain nutrients, including saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars. Comment on the proposal until December 28, 2022.