Apr 21, 2021

Processed foods will receive the most attention in Japan’s latest imported food monitoring plan.Processed foods importers are advised to test food products before entry to ensure that they do not contain bacterial contaminants, pesticides, antibiotics, or other unwanted materials. In addition, the food supply chain is expected to become more complicated with lower tolerance for violations. 

Apr 14, 2021

New Zealand’s domestic market for organic food rose 23 percent from 2017 to 2020 to reach NZ$302.5 million, according to the Organic Sector Market Report 2020/21 published by Organics Aotearoa New Zealand. Eighty-one percent of consumers there report buying organic products at least every two weeks. Supermarkets dominate the sales channels, with 69 percent of organic sales valued at NZ$209 million in 2020. Specialty stores commanded 16 percent of sales followed by other retailers at 14 percent and farmers markets/box schemes at 1 percent. Imported organic products make up about a third of the value of the domestic retail sales. Although the amount of certified organic acreage is down 3.4 percent compared to 2017, the number of certified organic operations is up 12 percent since then, and there has been a 54 percent increase in operations under conversion to organic. Land conversion is driven by the wine, horticulture and dairy sectors, which represent key export products. New Zealand’s export market is estimated at NZ 420.4 million.

Apr 1, 2021

Mexico will conduct a seminar on April 12, 2021 for U.S. exporters of organic products and US organic certifiers. The session will cover procedures and technical information on how to become certified to Mexico's LPO, a requirement imported organic products must meet by June 26, 2021. Interested U.S. parties should contact SENASICA, the National Organic Program, or FAS Mexico City to attend.

Mar 25, 2021

Animal nutrition, especially additional sources of protein and vitamins that are not created using genetically modified microorganisms, are one of the areas mentioned in the European Union’s Orgnaic Action Plan. In 2019, EU organic animal production was only about 3 percent of overall animal production in Europe, but is growing fast. Organic poultry (representing about 3 percent of EU’s poultry) and pork production (about 1 percent of pork production) were growing at 10 and 6 percent annually, respectively. Laying hens, which represent about 40 percent of the organic poultry in the EU, were growing at 13 percent annually. About 5 percent of EU’s cattle and 6 percent of the sheep were organic in 2017.  Austri had the highest penetration of organic livestock, and organic dairy production is concentrated in Austria, France and Germany.

Mar 25, 2021

Starting July 25, 2021, Japan’s organic standards for livestock products will encompass turkey products. Once the regulation goes into effect, all turkey products sold as “organic” will require appropriate certification. Per the terms of the U.S.-Japan organic equivalency arrangement, U.S. turkey products will retain access to the Japanese organic market provided they are certified under the USDA National Organic Program and exported to Japan under the arrangement. 

Mar 24, 2021

The European Union’s (EU’s) Action Plan for organic agriculture will take a three-pronged approach to boost acreage of organic farms to 25 percent of the regions farmland by 2030. The plan seeks to boost overall demand for European organic foods, encourage production, and further improve organic agriculture’s sustainability. Organic agriculture in the EU has increased 66 percent from 2009 to 2019, accounting for 8.5 percent of Europes utilized agricultural area, even as retail sales have doubled, but increases are not consistent throughout the region. Member states, therefore, will formulate their own targets to contribute to the EU-wide goal. Some of the action steps include:

  • Promoting the EU logo: as of October 2020, on average 56 percent of EU consumers recognize the EU organic logo, with variations between member states.
  • Allocating 27 percent (€49 million) of the overall share of agricultural promotion budget to organic products for 2021
  • Increasing promotion of organic within the EU and internationally, while raising awareness of export opportunities via trade and equivalency agreements.
  • Using procurement plans to increase organic food in school, government, and workplace food service offerings, perhaps through setting mandatory minimums for sustainable food in public institutions.
  • Strengthening fraud prevention and traceability efforts in order to boost consumer confidence in organic products.  
  • Developing a database of all EU organic operators is set for 2021, along with work on digital product passports
  • Increasing incentives for production, including training, technical assistance, and using Common Agricultural Policy, such as eco-schemes and rural development initiatives
  • Increasing organic aquaculture. 
  • Generating market data and reports to assist producers, along with research into trading practices to limit unfair practices; and encouraging small holders to use group certification. 
  • Fostering small-scale and local production and encouraging regional cooperation to reduce food miles and offer opportunity in areas away from tourist tracks. 
  • Improving understanding of livestock nutrition alternatives, especially algae, that could avoid genetically modified microorganisms in organic animal vitamins and feed.
  • Enhancing biodiversity through conserving seeds and other genetic materials, avoiding contentious materials, such as copper and plastics, and increasing yields of organic farms through research and farm advisory services. 
  • Increasing research and innovation, with 30 percent of the research and innovation budget for  agriculture, forestry and rural areas dedicated to topics of interest to the organic sector
Mar 19, 2021

Increased sales of bread products in the Asia Pacific region is resulting in more interest in spreads and jams, especially natural nut butters and jams with lower sugar. Shoppers are seeking less-processed products with fewer ingredients, in part as a result of health concerns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Feb 19, 2021

A decree published December 31, 2020 in Mexico’s Official Register calls for phasing out the use of glyphosate and genetically modified corn for human consumption in Mexico. The decree states that use of the herbicide glyphosate will be phased out over the next four years and replaced by a “sustainable and culturally appropriate” alternative. During the transition period, glyphosate will not be used in any government-sponsored program. The decree includes an article that calls for a revocation of existing and future cultivation permits for GE corn. It also requires a revocation of existing permits for GE corn and a halt to all new authorizations for GE corn for human consumption. The use of GE corn in human consumption would be phased out no later than January 31, 2024.  Mexico’s deputy agriculture minister has further stated that the phase out applies to all food that “will eventually reach human consumption.”

Feb 19, 2021

 The Organic Trade Association and Food Export are planning a virtual buyers mission for Healthy, Natural, and Organic Products April 13-15, 2021. Buyers from around the world will participate, and companies have been invited from South America, Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and more. 

 

Feb 19, 2021

Organic Trade Association will host a Virtual Trade Mission to Australia and New Zealand, approximately May 10-12, 2021, for a limited group of U.S. organic companies interested in expanding in those markets. If you are interested in participating, contact Alexis Carey, International Trade Manager. 
 

Feb 19, 2021

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. 

 

Feb 19, 2021

Organic Trade Association will be hosting a Produce Buyers Mission in coordination with the Organic Produce Summit, July 14-15, 2021, Monterey, California. Buyers will hail from 6-8 different markets. If you are interested in participating, contact Alexis Carey, International Trade Manager. 

Feb 19, 2021

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. 

Feb 17, 2021

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.

Feb 16, 2021

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
Feb 10, 2021

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).

Feb 10, 2021

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.

Feb 7, 2021

Starting February 13, 2021, Ethiopian Airlines will serve only organic food to passengers, and will showcase organic food grown in Ethiopia.

Feb 2, 2021

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.

 

Feb 1, 2021


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.