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.
Effective April 26, 2017, Japan unilaterally recognizes imported feed that is certified organic from countries that share an organic equivalency arrangement with Japan (i.e. the United States, Argentina, Australia, Canada, the European Union, New Zealand, and Switzerland) as certified for use in the production of organic compound feed, or for feeding to organic livestock.
Mexico's National Service for Agroalimentary Public Health, Safety and Quality (SENASICA) is not yet enforcing its organic regulations for import from countries where they have made progress on equivalency agreements, including the United States, according to the Organic Trade Association. The new regulations were slated for implementation in April 2017, it will take at least several more months to fully implement the regulations. Mexico has assured the USDA that they do not intend to interrupt trade in the meantime, effectively postponing the requirement for import certificates for organic products.
In an April 27 meeting with Mexican retailers, SENASICA outlined its regulatory plans, including removing the requirement that organic certifiers must have a physical office in Mexico, revising the regulations to allow products from third countries that are certified to the SENASICA standard to display the SAGARPA organic seal, and developing new inspection procedures to implement the requirement for SENASICA to verify the organic certificate and document of control. Until new regulation are published in the Diario Oficial (in no less than 2-3 months), there will be no change to the current procedures to import U.S. organic products. Representatives from the Federal Attorney's Office for the Consumer (PROFECO) confirmed that they only conduct enforcement based on the Spanish language version of the label.
Australia and the United States recognize each other’s food safety and regulatory systems as comparable, after five years’ work. Most canned foods, seafood, fresh fruit and vegetables, fruit juices, confectionery and baked goods are included in the agreement. Although milk and milk products in the the US Pasteurized Milk Ordinance are not included, cheese and other non-Grade “A” dairy products are included.
A new survey of Mexican consumers from Culinary Visions Panel showed that 61 percent are willing to compromise on taste if they are eating something healthy, compared to only 25 percent of consumers in the United States and Canada willing to make that compromise. In addition, 76 percent of Mexicans said that sharing a meal with family is important, and 69 percent said the act of preparing a meal is important. Offering ‘speed scratch’ products is one way packaged food companies could tap into the Mexican market.
Japan has proposed changes to country of origin labeling for certain processed products. The draft amendment explains that the country of origin labeling requirement for ingredients will be expanded to include the heaviest ingredient in all processed foods domestically produced in Japan. See this GAIN report for details.
Domestic organic food sales are estimated at US$200 million, and growing at 30-40 percent annually. Concerns about food safety, coupled with increased disposable incomes for many households and improved availability of organic products, particularly via ecommerce, are factors in the sector’s growth, reports Pure & Eco India. The sector’s growth is also attracting investors.
A report from the European Food Safety Authority based on samples of foods taken in 2015 revealed that organic products were significantly less likely to exceed the maximum residue levels allowed, with 2.9 percent of non-organic food exceeding maximum residue levels, compared to 0.7 percent of organic samples of organic food. Meanwhile, 46.8 percent of non-organic food had quantifiable levels of pesticide residues, compared to 13.5 percent of organic samples.
Bio Suisse reports that sales of organic products were up 7.8 percent in 2016, compared to an increase of 5.2 percent in 2015, and were valued at CHF 2.505 billion (US$2.5 billion). Overall, the market share for organic products is 8.4 percent. Sales are growing faster than average in Western Switzerland. Half of consumers buy organic products at least several times per week, and per capita spending on organic products is CHF 299 (US$298). Eggs are the best-selling organic product category, followed by vegetables and fresh bread.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has proposed Food Safety and Standards (Organic Foods) Regulations, 2017, and those draft regulations are open for comment. March 31, 2017
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) now has answers to frequently asked questions concerning import procedures on its web site. Topics include: Labeling requirements for imported food items, pre-requisites for Importing Food into India, steps in the import process, shelf-life requirements of imported food, and more. Some of these topics had recently changed with the Food Safety and Standards (Food Import) Regulations, 2017.