Organic dairy farmers in Denmark are concerned that their US export market is going to disappear now that the new US organic rules have been implemented.

The new rules came into force yesterday [Monday] – for further information on the rules, click here.  They stipulate that milk from cows treated with antibiotics can no longer count as organic. This is stricter than the organic certification system in place in Denmark, where cows treated with antibiotics may eventually be re-integrated into organic production.

The smaller scale of farms in Denmark means it is very difficult to run herds completely separately, which the larger farms in the US may be able to achieve. “I think US farmers are going to find these rules difficult. They look good on paper but animals get sick and at the moment we can’t really replace antibiotics,” Anne-Mette Arve, head of the Danish Dairy Board’s Economic and Political department told Reuters.

Half of Denmark’s US$31.45m worth of annual organic exports are in the dairy sector, meaning the new rules could severely dent revenues.

Detergents that are allowed in the Danish organic system are also prohibited under the new US rules.