Agreement Reached on New EU Organic Food Rules

After lengthy negotiations, EU negotiators have agreed on new rules for EU organic products.

Jul. 17, 2017
By Isabel Putinja

Recent News

European Union nego­tia­tors have reached agree­ment on new rules aim­ing to boost organic pro­duc­tion and increase con­sumer con­fi­dence in organic food prod­ucts in the EU.

The pro­posed rules aim to improve con­sumer trust by intro­duc­ing stricter con­trols of sup­ply chains, changes to com­pli­ance rules and stan­dards for imports and include new mea­sures to avoid pes­ti­cide con­t­a­m­i­na­tion.

The new rules are also expected to boost organic food pro­duc­tion in the EU by increas­ing the sup­ply of organic seeds and ani­mals, allow­ing for mixed farms grow­ing both organic and non-organic food on the con­di­tion that the two are kept sep­a­rate, and estab­lish­ing an eas­ier organic cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­ce­dure for small farm­ers.

In a EP press release Martin Häusling, the rap­por­teur respon­si­ble for the EP’s report on the pro­posal and chief EP nego­tia­tor, said that the newly approved rules will ben­e­fit con­sumers and farm­ers across the EU.

After 20 months of nego­ti­a­tions we have man­aged to reach an agree­ment, which will help organic sec­tor grow and will increase con­sumers’ trust in organic food­stuffs. It was a labo­ri­ous task but I believe new rules will bring ben­e­fits to both EU con­sumers and organic farm­ers,” Häusling said.


The new reg­u­la­tion replaces the orig­i­nal, intro­duced in 1991 and sub­se­quently revised in 1998 and 2007. The leg­isla­tive pro­posal was first intro­duced by the European Commission in March 2014 but an agree­ment was reached only recently after more than three years of intense nego­ti­a­tions.

The European Commission, European Council and European Parliament (EP) pro­vi­sion­ally agreed on the new rules on June 28. The pro­posed reg­u­la­tion still has to be for­mally endorsed by the EP’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee and the Council of Agriculture Ministers and will enter into force from July 2020 in all EU mem­ber states.

The mar­ket for organic food in the EU has been grow­ing steadily but accord­ing to an EP back­ground note, only six per­cent of agri­cul­tural land in the EU is organ­i­cally cul­ti­vated, and imports are required to meet mar­ket demands.

Denmark has the high­est per-capita con­sump­tion of organic prod­ucts accord­ing to 2013 fig­ures, fol­lowed by Luxembourg, Austria, Sweden and Germany.

The value of the mar­ket for organic prod­ucts in the EU was esti­mated at €22.2 bil­lion ($25.4 bil­lion) in 2013. The EU cur­rently has 260,000 organic farm­ers, with the major­ity located in Italy (46,000), Spain (30,000) and Poland (26,000).

The EU organic logo was unveiled in 2010 to sym­bol­ize the har­mo­nized rules applied across the EU mem­ber states and make organic prod­ucts eas­ily iden­ti­fi­able for con­sumers. The logo is manda­tory for all pre-pack­aged organic prod­ucts pro­duced in the EU.


Related Articles

Feedback / Suggestions