EU: Brussels eyes fresh organic food regulations
The future of the organic sector "depends on quality and integrity of products sold under the European organic logo", agriculture commissioner Ciolos said
The European Commission has set out plans for new regulations governing the organic food sector.
Brussels said it wants fresh laws on organic production and the labelling of organic food "to address the shortcomings of the current system".
The Commission argued the market for organic food in the EU had "quadrupled in size" in the last decade and insisted rules needed to be "updated and adjusted so that the sector can further develop and respond to future challenges".
Proposals include moves to "strengthen and harmonise" regulations, for products made in the EU and for imports, by removing "many of the current exceptions" on production and controls, Brussels said.
The Commission also wants to tighten the existing regulations on organic farming. Farmers who wish to produce organic food will have to end any conventional farming. Current rules state organic farms should be entirely organic but mixed farming is allowed through certain exceptions.
However, the Commission has proposed "removing various derogations and exceptions in the current rules".
It said: "Organic agricultural holdings will have to be entirely managed in compliance with the requirements applicable to organic production."
The proposals follow a "public consulation" carried out last year that the Commission said "highlighted the public's concerns with environmental and quality issues" and "showed a clear demand for strengthened and more uniform organic rules throughout the EU".
EU agriculture commissioner Dacian Ciolos said insisted the proposals were "good for consumers and good for farmers".
He said: "Consumers will have better guarantees on organic food made and sold in the EU and farmers, producers and retailers will have access to a larger market, both within and outside the EU.
"The future of the organic sector in the EU depends on the quality and integrity of the products sold under the European organic logo. The Commission is looking for more and better organic farming in the EU by consolidating consumer confidence in organic products and removing obstacles to the development of organic agriculture."
The Commission's proposals now be submitted to the European Parliament and to the European Council.
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