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Organic standards in the food industry: which label do I need?

Posted by Bertrand Duteil on 22/12/2016

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Sustainable food products are subject to a multitude of legal requirements. It means for all companies a close monitoring of their supply chains and high standards regarding the quality of all raw materials. It covers the cultivation and the manufacturing to the packaging and the trading of sustainable products.

To simplify your work, we summarized here for you the different sustainable standards existing for the food industry.

EU Organic Label

Created in 2000, the EU Organic label rules sustainable cultivation, production and trading of organic food within the EU. At least 95 % of the ingredients used for food products must come from organic productions. The guideline for this label requires the separation of organic and conventional cultures and prohibit the use of GMOs in production as well as in animal feed.

Learn more about the EU Organic Label.

National Organic Program - Equivalency agreement

The USDA National Organic Program is the American sustainability program for food products. The standard created by the US Department of Agriculture sets the requirements for the cultivation, the production and the trading of Organic Food in the USA.

In 2012, the EU and the USA signed a mutual recognition of their respective organic standards. To internationally trade without the national certification, only an import certificate as well as a complete prohibition of antibiotics are required.


Learn more about the the equivalency agreement between the EU and the USA.


Private organic certifications

Private labels all follow the EU organic standard legal requirements. They generally tend to be much stricter and have higher prerequisites than the european standard.

  • Bioland

    The German organization defines itself as an “environmental, economic and socially compatible alternative” to conventional agriculture. This label sets rules and requirements for the production and the preparation of food products in almost every fields.
  • Naturland

    The German organization for organic agriculture was founded in 1982 and is nowadays active internationally. Naturland checks the “environmental, forward-looking and fair aspects” of its products in several fields such as agricultural products, apiary, cosmetics or textiles.
  • Demeter

    Created in 1992, the first organic farms organization and sets international guidelines for the production and the manufacture of organic food products.

Learn more about the private organic certifications.

Fairtrade Certification for farm products

Founded in 1997, the Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International, also knows as Fairtrade International, sets in for fair traded products in the food and the textile industries. The certification focuses on environmental and economic aspects, but also on work safety and sustainable production in emerging markets.


Learn more about the Fairtrade certification.


MSC Certification for a sustainable fishery

Created in 1999, the MSC is an independent and worldwide organization for sustainable wild fishery. The standard sets rules for the sustainability of fishing resources, the protection of seas ecosystems and an effective and complete traceability of the supply chain. The MSC offers an MSC environmental standard for fishery companies and an MSC Traceability standard for companies preparing and trading fish products.

Learn more about the MSC Standard.

UTZ Certification for sustainable farm products

Founded in 2002, the independent and international organization sets in for a sustainable agriculture method of farm products, better working conditions for farmers and farm workers as well as for the environment protection. The UTZ offers a certification program for tea, coffee, cocoa and nuts. The standard is based on a Code of Conduct for farms and crops and on a Chain of Custody guideline.

Learn more about the UTZ Standard.

With our web-based platform we support you with all your supplier and product documentation for an efficient and transparent collection and administration. Register now for an online demonstration of ecratum.

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Tags: Certifications, tips