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New European Organic Law: What has changed?

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Since the beginning of 2022, a revised EU organic regulation defines what organic means. © Pixabay / Capri23auto

Since 1 January, the new EU organic regulation has to be applied. In Europe and worldwide, millions of farmers and actors along the entire value chain are directly or indirectly affected by the legal update.

The new organic legislation is intended to ensure environmentally friendly agriculture and gentle food production. "The EU organic regulation remains true to its proven principles - and has evolved where it is important," the German Federation of the Organic Food Industry (BÖLW) informs. The association has summarised the most important changes (see below).

New in organic law

  • Scope extended: "Agriculture-related products" such as beeswax or leather can now also be certified in organic quality.
  • Processing: Nanochemicals are banned in organic food production. The rules for the use of flavourings have been tightened: they must now be less processed and more organic.
  • Soil-based cultivation ensured: Organic plants must grow in the native soil, this now also applies to greenhouse cultivation.
  • Seed rules strengthen the principle of "organic from the start": Rules for heterogeneous and organically bred material and a seed database ensure more organic seed and provide incentives for organic breeding.
  • Paradigm shift for imports: Whereas the principle of equivalence applied in the past, conformity will prevail in the future - the organic rules must be applied one-to-one.
  • Control remains strict: Organic controls will continue to take place at least once a year, but will be more risk-oriented.
  • Precautionary measures on all farms: Farmers, traders and importers must also prove that they take precautions against non-permitted substances.

Since the EU Organic Regulation came into force in 1992, the rules for organic products have been constantly adapted to the current state of practice and research by means of amending regulations. With the new law, organic remains the strictest and most comprehensive legal food standard. The control remains in state hands and supervises the legally protected organic labelling: the organic seal.


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