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EU Organic Label - Basics about the EU Sustainability standard

Posted by Bertrand Duteil on 27/10/2016

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Bio labels stamp food products which come from a controlled organic farming. It helps  consumers to identify organic products following specific sustainability standards such as animal welfare or the prevention of consuming genetically modified products on production site.

Nevertheless, the large variety of labels, logos and certifications along with recurring food scandals worry the public and make the consumers unsure about the quality and the safety of their meals. To ensure a sustainable production and supply chain process, a transparent traceability of raw materials and documentation during the manufacture process is more than important for food industries companies.

Depending on the purchased products and raw materials, it can be necessary for you to produce an organic certificate or to request one to your suppliers. The EU Organic Label unifies EU wide the national policies to ensure a steady and sustainable organic standard within the EU.

Here are the major elements you need to remember about the EU Organic Label.

What is the EU Organic Label?

The EU Organic Label has been created in 2000 and defines standards for all organic products produced in the European Union.  The goal of the EU Organic Label is to produce healthy food with a minimum environmental impact. The organic logo must always be used on certified products. It clearly identifies organic products for the consumers and stands for safe and high-quality food respecting the environment.

Among other criteria, the EU Organic Label requires:

  • at least 95% of the ingredients coming from organic farming
  • a clear separation between organic and conventional products, during the production as well as during the stocking of the products
  • a complete interdiction of using genetically modified products, even in the animal feed
  • a strong limitation in the use of antibiotics on animals
  • the following of specific rules regarding animal welfare such as the size of the stable of the number of animals per sqm.

How to get an EU organic label?

As for most of the official certificates, a control of the company operated by an independent inspection body is necessary, including the production facility and the verification of product related documents such as the ingredients lists. A certification will then be issued if the company meets every specifications.This certificate has a validity of one year, renewable after a new control.

The certification areas are divided into the following sections:

  • Agricultural commodities
  • Agricultural commodities - beekeeping
  • Agricultural commodities - seaweed and aquaculture
  • Manufacture of processed food
  • Trade with a third party country (Import)
  • Contracting a third party
  • Production of animal feed

Once the EU organic label has been received, the company must use the following organic logo on all concerned products. The EU organic control body code must always be listed next to the logo, on internal documents as well as on the packages themselves.

EU Organic LogoEU Organic Logo

According to the EU Organic regulation, an organic identification mark must contain:
  • Name and signature of the producing / manufacturing / trading company
  • Identification of the product / raw material
  • Product related organic reference (for example: “Organic cheese”)
  • Code number of the control body (for example: GB-ORG-05)

Tips:

  • Make sure that the purchased organic raw material are listed as organic products on the invoices and the delivery order of you trader or supplier. Suppliers must show a valid certificate authorising them to produce and sell organic products as such.
  • Make sure that your product related documentation is always complete and up-to-date, including records about receipts, invoices, inventory lists or production notes.

Legal background

The standard EU Organic Labelling is based on the EU Organic Basis regulation (EC No 834/07) as well as on the regulation EC No 889/08. The regulation rules Europe-wide the production, manufacture and trade of organic food and animal feed. Every companies producing, processing, storing or trading organic products from a third party country are subject to obligation to report and control according to the Art. 28 of the EC regulation 834/07. The regulation EC No 1235/2008 rules the introduction of organic products from third party countries.

The EU Organic Regulation was first created by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements. The international Federation involves around 800 organisations from 120 countries (Stand: 2015).

Bio Label in international merchandise traffic

Since the 1. June 2012, the US-EU Organic Equivalency Arrangement agrees on the mutual recognition of the national organic regulations of both parties. Even if some differences are to notice between the two standards, they are considered as equivalent thanks to this arrangement in order to facilitate international trade and reduce the administrative obstacles on both sides.

Further information

Are you producing for the food industry and must regularly request, check and store organic certificate or other documents such as recipes or delivery notes? Register now for an online demonstration and discover how our SRM platform can support you efficiently with your document management.

Click HERE to register for a free online-demonstration

Tags: Certifications, tips