New EU organic legislation: quality before speed demanded
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The focus of the German BÖLW (Bund Ökologische Lebensmittelwirtschaft – Organic food production alliance) event at the Biofach Congress was on the new organic legislation from 01 January 2021, the changes companies will face and the state of work in progress on specific regulations.
Legislation can be amended
Nicolas Verlet from the EU Commission emphasised how good the cooperation has been between all parties involved. At present, the discussions with member states are focussing on control, imports and livestock farming. Although Nicolas Verlet pointed out there is great time pressure for the law to be passed by the end of the year, the commission representative was optimistic that the negotiations could be completed by the summer and also stressed that it would be possible to amend the legal acts at any time after initial experience has been gained.
Strengthening the organic control process
For Georg Eckert, from the European Organic Certifiers Council (EOCC), it is important that organic controls encompass all areas of possible deviation and it is crucial to strengthen the organic control process and approach. It is not enough to focus only on pesticide contamination. Georg Eckert maintains that the voluntary aspects for organic certification that will apply in the future, will lead to more inconstancy. On functional control regulations, there is still quite some work to be done.
The focus must be on legal certainty for companies
Martin Ries from the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Agriculture sees a need for intensive consultation on outstanding regulations. For the EU states and the federal German states, the implementation of the new organic legislation in such a short time, is very ambitious. Martin Ries stressed that legal certainty for companies must be a main focus and the new legislation must not be an obstacle for organic development. The representative from the ministry demands that it must also be possible to use in-conversion products in mixed fodder and that the EU Commission should also do more to ensure the integrity of products from third countries.
Much work on regulations for organic livestock farmers
Peter Röhrig, BÖLW, praised the commitment of all negotiating partners. To ensure that the outstanding regulations are workable in practise, quality must take precedence over speed. As the time plan to 01.01.2021 is very tight, a later implementation of the new EU organic legislation should be considered. Many questions have not been answered satisfactorily yet. Also, the EU Commission’s plans for cleaning and disinfecting agents for organic processors are not adequate for ensuring food safety. The work over recent weeks on regulations for organic livestock farmers has been good and important improvements have been made.
Peter Röhrig stressed that organic legislation must be devised to transform the entire agricultural and food systems and that good organics legislation support the European Greed Deal.