Organic Trade Association will lead a Trade Mission to the United Kingdom and European Union June 14-18, 2021 for a limited group of U.S. organic companies interested in expanding in those markets. Activities will take place in London and Amsterdam, and participants in this Trade Mission will also have the opportunity to exhibit at the Free From Expo, taking place June 15-16, 2021 in Amsterdam. If you are interested in participating, contact Alexis Carey, International Trade Manager.
To better align with international standards, South Korea is considering changing its rules on labeling products with trace amounts of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The South Korean Ministry of Food and Drug safety is seeking public comment on the changes.
Two proposals in New Zealand would phase out the use of hard-to-recycle plastics and seven single use plastic items. If the proposals move forward, the following would no long be allowed by 2023:
- PVC food and beverage packaging
- Some polystyrene food and beverage packaging
- All oxo-degradable plastic products
Followed by these by 2025:
- Some polystyrene food and beverage packaging not captured by stage 1
- All other polystyrene including expanded polystyrene packaging (eg, homewares, electronics)
The seven single use items identified as environmental problems include:
- single-use produce bags
- tableware (eg, plastic plates, bowls, cutlery)
- non-compostable produce stickers
- drink stirrers
- some single-use cups and lids. Includes plastic-lined paper cups, but not disposable coffee cups
- plastic cotton buds
- plastic straws
The organic market in the United Kingdom grew 12.6 percent in 2020, to reach £2.79 billion, according to the Soil Association’s annual UK Organic Market Report. Changing shopping habits due to the pandemic resulted in 36.2 percent growth in online and home delivery sales. Supermarket sales of organic products were up 12.5 percent. Some categories with high growth rates include: produce, (up 15.5 percent); meat, fish and poultry (up 16.8 percent) and dairy (up 7.7 percent).
If new legislation approved by Germany’s cabinet passes the Bundestag and Bundesrat, then farmers will have to stop using glyphosate by 2024. The draft legislation would also ban selective use of herbicides and insecticides that could harm bees.
Starting February 13, 2021, Ethiopian Airlines will serve only organic food to passengers, and will showcase organic food grown in Ethiopia.
Changes to the European Union’s organic regulations, as outlined in EU 2018/848, have been postponed by one year to January 1, 2022, due in part to the resources required for the COVID-19 pandemic. Related dates for derogations, reports or empowerments granted to the Commission to end or extend derogations will also be postponed for one year. Control bodies have until June 30, 2021 to make new requests for equivalency recognition. Meanwhile, equivalency recognition agreements with third countries will now expire December 31, 2026, while recognition of control bodies in third countries will expire on December 31, 2024.
New rules designed to foster a circular economy and eliminate single use plastics will put a ban on plastic packaging for retail sales of most fresh fruit and vegetables sold in quantities of less than 1.5 kilograms beginning January 1, 2022. In addition, stickers on produce must be compostable in home composting and made of bio-based materials.
First established in 2011, Peru’s moratorium on entry and production of genetically modified organisms within its borders was extended for 15 years, to December 21, 2035. Farmers, citizens and dozens of organizations campaigned for continued limits to genetically modified organisms.
Canada has updated their organic requirements. Operations already certified to Canada’s standards have until December 2021 to comply with the new regulations; new operations must use them now. Key changes include assessments of how farm management encourages healthy ecosystems; clarification on when to exclude water as an ingredient in organic calculations; additional cleaners that can be used without removal; additional review of cleaner and sanitizer labels and data sheets, changes in poultry and livestock operations, and more.
A cooperator in the USDA’s Market Access Program for 20 years, the Organic Trade Association has plans for trade show visits, several trade missions, and promotions for US organic products in 2021. Regions and countries include: Europe, United Kingdom, Germany, Gulf Region, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, New Zealand, Australia, and more. OTA’s international market promotion activities to the entire organic industry, not just association members. Sign up information is online.
Germany is the second largest organic market in the world with good prospects for U.S. organic products, such as tree nuts, fruits and vegetables, and processed food products. This report identifies top prospects and opportunities for organic products in the German market.
Under the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations, Canada will begin enforcing lot code requirements for fresh fruits and vegetables on January 15, 2021. Most prepacked fresh fruit or vegetables are required to include a lot code or a unique identifier (lot code if it is a consumer prepackaged food not packaged at retail), the common name of the food, and the name and principal place of business of the company by or for whom the food was manufactured on the label, which must be applied, attached, or accompanying the food when it is provided to another person.
The Manilla Times reports that Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Republic Act (RA) 11511, an amendment to RA 10068 or the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010, in order to strengthen the national organic agricultural program and promote the use of organic products through a nationwide educational awareness campaign. The law also establishes a Participatory Guarantee System to make certification more accessible to smallholders. The new regulations take effect 15 days after publication in the Official Gazette.
On January 1, 2021, a new organic equivalence arrangement between the United States and the United Kingdom will begin. Provided they meet the terms of the arrangement, organic products certified to either the USDA or UK organic standards may be labelled and sold as organic in both countries. This equivalence is limited to organic products that have been either raised within the U.S. or UK, or products for which the final processing or packaging occurs within the US or UK, and covers Crops, Wild Crops, Livestock, and Processed Products. The biggest change to current import/export practices under the new arrangement is that USDA organic products exported to England, Scotland and Wales must be accompanied by a new paper Great Britain import certificate developed by the UK. Shipments to Northern Ireland will continue to use the European Union's TRACES certificate system. Neither agricultural products derived from animals treated with antibiotics nor aquatic animals (e.g. fish, shellfish) may be exported as organic products from the UK to the US under this arrangement.
Organic agricultural imports entering Mexico must be certified by the Secretariat of Agriculture and Rural Development to Mexico’s organic standards under the Organic Products Law (LPO) starting on June 26, 2021. On December 21, 2020, Mexico notified the measure to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Trading partners and stakeholders may comment on the measure through February 18, 2021.
Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce intends to digitize the country’s food and agriculture sector, starting with a traceability system that will debut with organic products. Dubbed TraceThai, organic rice has already been part of a pilot program for the system which uses QR codes and blockchain technology to protect data and prevent data falsification. For the first three years, participants will not incur additional fees to take part in the program.
Over 20 domestic and foreign brands now participate in the Organic Alliance at JD, a leading e-commerce outlet in China. Formed in August 2020, the Alliance collaborated to launch an ‘Organic Life’ promotional event for JD’s PLUS member. The event resulted in a 129 percent increase in organic mild powder sales, 240 percent increase in organic oils sales, and 200 percent increases for both nuts sales and organic food supplement sales. The pandemic has resulted in a trend of seeking better quality food options in China.
Mexico’s Secretariat of Agriculture and Rural Development has published its intent to become lead regulator of certain import and export products based on changes to Mexico’s trade law published on July 1, 2020. The proposed changes are outlined in the “Acuerdo que Establece las Mercancías Cuya Importación y Exportación está Sujeta a Regulación por Parte de la Secretaría de Agricultura y Desarrollo Rural” (“Agreement Establishing Goods whose Import and Export are Subject to Regulation by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development”). Mexico has not yet notified the World Trade Organization Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures of these changes. Notably, agricultural imports into Mexico requiring certificates of origin, such as organics, would be affected.
Changes to organic imports are slated to take effect on December 28, 2020, as outlined in the draft measure.
The European Union (EU) has recognized United Kingdom control bodies for the purpose of exporting organic products to the EU until December 31, 2021. Food and feed certified as organic in England, Scotland and Wales (Great Britain) will continue to be accepted as organic in the EU until December 31, 2021.