The European Commission has published new proposals for a new regulation on organic production and the labeling of organic products which seek to address the shortcomings of the current system.
The proposals focus on three main objectives: maintaining consumer confidence, maintaining producer confidence, and making it easier for farmers to switch to organics.
In particular, the Commission proposes to:
- Strengthen and harmonize rules, both in the EU and for imported products, by removing many of the current exceptions in terms of production and controls
- Reinforce controls by making them risk based
- Make it easier for small farmers to join organic farming by introducing the possibility for them to sign up to a group certification system
- Better address the international dimension of trade in organic products with the addition of new provisions on exports
- Simplify the legislation to reduce administrative costs for farmers and improve transparency
To help organic farmers, producers and retailers adjust to the proposed policy changes and meet future challenges, the Commission has produced an action plan on the future of organic production in Europe.
Commenting on the proposed changes, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dacian Ciolos said: "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. This package is good for consumers and good for farmers. 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."