Oct 4, 2021

While speaking on a Dutch television program, the Netherlands outgoing Minister of Agriculture advocated for a tax on unsustainable food, with the proceeds used to support sustainable agriculture. The suggestion has met resistance form the food distribution sector in the past, and the controversial approach lacked political backing. Even so, using pricing to encourage behavior change is gaining traction among the Dutch.

Oct 4, 2021

A new electronic label program for wine and spirits sold in the European Union, U-Label, accessed via QR technology, will provide consumers any required ingredient and nutrition information as well as responsible drinking guidelines and sustainability certificates. Starting November 1, the program will be open to all wine and spirits companies, and offers consumer information in all 24 EU languages. 

Oct 1, 2021

The European Union’s new rules for organic farming require operators to keep records to ensure that authorities can carry out checks on preventive measures, traceability and mass balance (balance between products entering and leaving the production site). Completed regulations that set out the specifications for these records, including details on the declarations that operators must submit to official control authorities on their organic production are expected by the end of 2021.

Sep 29, 2021

The International Organization of Vine and Wine’s (OIV) new report “The World Organic Vineyard” revealed that in 2019, 6.2 percent of the world’s vineyard acreage is organic, with Spain, France and Italy accounting for 75 percent of the world’s organic vineyards. Overall, certified organic vineyard surface area increased by an average of 13% per year between 2005 and 2019, while the ‘non-organic’ vineyard area decreased by an average of 0.4% per year within the same timeframe. Part of the growth in Europe stems from European Union policies that encourage organic viticulture.

Sep 23, 2021

The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission launched September 23 as an annual EU Organic Day to raise awareness of organic agriculture. EU Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski said: “Today we celebrate organic production, a sustainable type of agriculture where food production is done in harmony with nature, biodiversity and animal welfare. 23 September is also autumnal equinox, when day and night are equally long, a symbol of balance between agriculture and environment that ideally suits organic production.”

Sep 21, 2021

In the past 10 years, the wine market in New Zealand has grown 300 percent, says a new report from BioGro NZ. Representing 10 percent of the overall organic products market in New Zealand, the organic wine sector is the third-largest organic sector and is valued at $65 million.

Sep 13, 2021

China’s state-run English language news service reports that the country issued more than 22,000 organic certificates to 14,000 companies, and the number of certificates grew 13.5 percent on average each year from 2016 to 2020. China’s organic food market is expected to reach 98.9 billion yuan in 2023, and increased form 27.98 billion yuan to 67.82 billion yuan from 2013 to 2019. In 2020, China sold 999,000 tonnes of organic products valued at 80.43 billion yuan.

Sep 12, 2021

In an analysis of Ireland’s likelihood of reaching 25 percent of agricultural land as organic by 2030 (to align with the European Union’s goal), the author concludes it is unlikely, in part due to the mismatch between what organic products Irish shoppers buy most and what Irish organic farms produce. About two percent of Irish agricultural land is dedicated to organic production, primarily beef and sheep. Meanwhile, the top selling organic products are vegetables, yogurt and fruit.

Sep 9, 2021

In 2020, sales of organic food rose 15 percent to €2.37 billion, with over 80 percent of it sold through the traditional retail food sector. Nearly all Austrians purchase organic food, partly due to environmental issues such as climate change and loss of biodiversity. Even so, a risk of supply shortages, due to fewer farms converting to organic agriculture, may slow sales growth. About 23 percent of agricultural holdings in Austria are organic, managing about 27 percent of total agricultural area.

Aug 18, 2021

Starting January 1, 2022, control bodies need to issue organic certificates through the Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES) for organic products on the market in the European Union. 

Jul 14, 2021

Draft regulations establishing an official certificate verifying the non-use of antibiotics in organic livestock are available for public comment until August 11, 2021. Such certificates would be useful for European farms interested in exporting livestock products to countries that do not allow use of antibiotics in organic production. If the regulations pass, the certificates would be available in January 2022.

Jul 1, 2021

A new GAIN report on the retail market in El Salvador says “Health and nutrition are no longer a main concern for only higher-income consumers. With the pandemic, more Salvadorans have become conscious of their health and are seeking products to boost it through good eating habits. Therefore, there is a stronger demand and potential for products that are made with more natural ingredients, organic, fat free/low fat, gluten free, unsweetened or reduced calories (including beverages).”

Jun 28, 2021

In an effort to reduce single use plastics, New Zealand intends to phase out the use of plastic produce stickers by 2023, a timeline that surprised some in the industry. At least one organic apple grower there has been using compostable stickers successfully for two years.

Jun 22, 2021

Health Canada offers a free self-paced Nutrition Labeling Online Course, which offers US-based exporters information on requirements for Canada’s nutrition labels. In addition, the US Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration will host a webinar June 24 on the Canada Boarder Services Agency’s Assessment and Revenue Management Program (CARM), which will digitize and streamline customs procedures. CARM will be mandatory for all US non-resident importers beginning in the spring of 2022.

Jun 15, 2021

Starting July 11, the United States and European Union are suspending tariffs imposed as a result of an ongoing aircraft subsidies dispute. The 15%-25% tariffs targeted a wide range of agricultural goods, including cheese, nuts, produce, alcohol, and more. The agreement is for a five-year suspension of the tariffs. A full list of the US agricultural items covered in the agreement can be seen in this GAIN report.

Jun 12, 2021

The Organic Trade Association, based on input from its members, raised several issues with USDA and Mexico’s National Agro-Alimentary Health, Safety and Quality Service (SENASICA) concerning Mexico’s new organic regulations. US organic exports for sale in Mexico must be certified to Mexico’s Organic Products Law after December 31, 2021, an extension of the previous June 26 deadline. Key topics for OTA include using stickers to adapt labeling for Mexico, identifying products in the stream of commerce before the December 31, 2021 deadline, training for retailers on the deadline, how to identify/segregate imported ingredients for products to be exported from Mexico, and waiving on-site inspections during the pandemic. 

Jun 1, 2021

New stricter regulations for organic foods in South Korea will cover processed foods with over 70 percent organic ingredients and those which claim ‘no pesticides introduced.’  Only certified foods will be allowed to use environmentally friendly language such as ‘eco-friendly’ or ‘pesticide free.’ Despite high prices, South Koreans continue to seek out organic products, which are seen as healthy food.  Popular products include processed fruit and vegetable products, fresh fruits and vegetables, juice, dairy, baby products and snacks. Imports comprise over 70 percent of ingredients in locally-produced processed products. The government has been encouraging farmers to shift to organic farming to help meet demand.

May 7, 2021

US organic products have additional time to meet Mexico’s requirement for certification to its Organic Products Law. Mexico’s agriculture secretariat extended the deadline through December 31, 2021. Beginning January 1, 2022, US operators must be certified by a certifying body accredited by Mexico’s National Service for Animal and Plant Health, Food Safety and Quality (SENASICA) in order to sell organic products in Mexico. For more details on Mexico’s organic products law, see the USDA GAIN report

May 4, 2021

Despite a few recent changes to Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety policies that allow food products with only trace amounts of genetically modified ingredients to make non-GMO claims in line with international standards, experts predict that in the long run South Korea’s control of GMOS will tighten. Products from the US, for example, have faced issues if GMO ingredients were used. A recent survey from Korea Biosafety Clearing House found that 83 percent of Korean consumers want stricter regulations on handling, distribution and labeling of products made from genetically modified organisms. 

Apr 29, 2021

IFOAM Organics Europe, along with AGROBIO in Portugal, will host the annual European Organic Congress online June 16-18. Topics include the how the CAP strategic plans align with the EU Green Deal, expected changes in the EU organic regulations, climate change, and more. Registration is free, and seats are limited.