What's New in the Eu: EU labeling makes buying organic easy

The European Comission launched the EU's new Organic Farming Campaign to inform consumers about the meaning and benefits of organic farming and food production.

eu flag biz 88 (photo credit: )
eu flag biz 88
(photo credit: )
The European Commission launched the European Union's new Organic Farming Campaign last week at the Foire de Libramont agricultural fair in Belgium. Under the campaign slogan: "Organic farming. Good for nature, good for you," the promotional campaign aims to inform consumers about the meaning and benefits of organic farming and food production. The campaign will focus on increasing consumer awareness and recognition of organic products, and especially on young people and children to carry the organic idea into the future. According to European officials, increasing consumer demand is strengthening the organic market and giving farmers and processors new opportunities. Studies estimate that the market for organic products is growing by 10-15% a year. The Organic Farming Campaign was developed with an umbrella-style approach that serves the interests of organic operators within the EU and empowers them to actively promote organic farming. The Commission created the campaign in cooperation with the Experts Group for the promotion of organic agriculture. The experts include representatives from national ministries for agriculture as well as national and international associations working with organic farming and production. The campaign was launched within the framework of the European Action Plan for Organic Food and Farming. This action plan sets out 21 initiatives for developing the organic food market and improving standards by increasing efficiency and transparency and thereby increasing consumer confidence. Put simply, organic farming is an agricultural system that seeks to provide the consumer with fresh and authentic food while respecting natural life-cycle systems. To achieve this, organic farming relies on a number of objectives and principles, as well as common practices designed to minimize the human impact on the environment, while ensuring the agricultural system operates as naturally as possible. Typical organic farming practices include: • Crop rotation as a prerequisite for an efficient use of on-site resources; • Very strict limits on chemical synthetic pesticide and synthetic fertilizer use, livestock antibiotics, food additives and processing aids and other inputs; • Absolute prohibition of the use of genetically modified organisms; • Taking advantage of on-site resources, such as livestock manure for fertilizer or feed produced on the farm; • Choosing plant and animal species that are resistant to disease and adapted to local conditions; • Raising livestock in free-range, open-air systems and providing them with organic feed; and • Using animal husbandry practices appropriate to different livestock species. Organic farming should part of a larger supply chain, encompassing food processing, distribution and retailing sectors. Each link in this supply chain should play an important role in values such as environmental protection, animal welfare and others which are associated with organic foods. A detailed review of the current organic farming regulations resulted in two European Commission proposals in December 2005 for a range of simplified and improved rules for the importation, production and labeling of organic products. The current EU organic regulations set out how crops and livestock must be managed and how food and livestock feed must be processed in order to be labeled as organic. Compliance with the EU organic Regulation is required for all products carrying the EU organic farming logo. This labeling regime is designed to give consumers in EU Member States confidence about the organic nature of the products they buy. The EU logo is designed to increase recognition of organic products among consumers, in the way logos have been used in many EU countries. The European Commission claims that statistics show that many EU consumers are looking for products bearing these organic logos and labels when shopping for groceries or buying a meal in a restaurant or kiosk. syrquin@013.net The author is the head of the International Department at GSCB Law Firm