The European Commission has published the new proposals for a new Regulation on organic production and the labelling of organic products. The proposal aims to address shortcomings of the current system, since the EU organic market has quadrupled in size over the last 10 years and rules need to be updated and adjusted so that the sector can further develop and respond to future challenges.
The aim is that organic farming remains close to its principles and the proposal focuses on three main objectives: maintaining consumer confidence, maintaining producer confidence and making it easier for farmers to switch to organics. In order to achieve these objectives, the Commission proposes in particular to simplify the legislation to reduce administrative costs and to strengthen and harmonize rules, both in the European Union and for imported products, by removing many of the current exceptions in terms of production and controls. Furthermore, the controls will be reinforced with a risk-based approach. Finally, a particular priority is given to small farmers, introducing group certification system to make it easier for them to join organic farming.
The Commission has also approved an Action Plan on the future of Organic Production in Europe, to help organic farmers, producers and retailers adjust to the proposed policy changes and meet future challenges.
The European Council and European Parliament will now discuss and adapt the legal proposal, with the final legislation expected to enter into force in 2017.
More information: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/organic/eu-policy/policy-development/index_en.htm