Organic Rules and Certification

All differences in one table by country standards

  • Organic regulations/standards by region
    • Europe
      • The Netherlands
        • Skal
Go back to overview Go to complete documents for this section
Title Description Difference Justification and Comments
Animal fodder, nutritive definitions - NL SKAL Standard 2005
/style/images/fileicons/unknown.png
Within the definition for roughage, a distinction is made between feed concentrate and other roughage. SKAL has defined feed concentrate - when the roughage consists of: 900 VEM/kg dry matter, a structure of 3% or less, dry matter of 80% or a mixture of corn-cob, corn scrap, potato fibres, grass -and luzerne waste. All other feed is called roughage.
SKAL standard is more detailed by defining concentrates and type of roughage whereas EU Regulation 2092/91 is much more general ( Annex I, part B, 4.7): Rearing systems for herbivores are to be based on maximum use of pasture according to the availability of pastures in the different periods of the year. At least 60 % of the dry matter in daily rations is to consist of roughage, fresh or dried fodder, or silage. For the definition of roughage, the former private SKAL Norms for animal husbandry have been used. This difference should avoid the use of too much feed concentrate.
Common land use - NL Skal Standards 2005
/style/images/fileicons/unknown.png
Common land in the Netherlands is defined as land owned by an organisation that manages it, according to the EU Regulation on organic farming. These organisations are Staatsbosbeheer, Natuurmonumenten Nederland en De Provinciale Landschappen. They have to approve their appropriate land keeping with a certificate. Rule Text: Annex I, part B 1.8: By way of a second derogation from this principle, animals reared in accordance with the provisions of this Regulation may be grazed on common land.
The EU Regulation 2092/91 says nothing about a certificate indicating the provisions of the regulation. Use of non-organic land should be avoided. These certificates prevent the use of chemicals etc.
Contamination, food residues - NL Skal Standards 2005
/style/images/fileicons/unknown.png
SKAL uses a case-by case approach in case of contamination of organic products. The method of organic farming is valued as highly important and should be included in cases of contamination. SKAL uses the following rules in case of contamination: 1. <0.01 mg/kg residue: the product can be sold as organic and is considered by the baby food standard as non-detectable. 2. >0.01 mg/kg residue, a case by case approach will be followed: There is cause for suspicion and the product will be blocked and after investigation the product can be sold as organic or has to be decertified. The decision will be made based on an interpretation of the laboratory and field circumstances.
SKAL Standards contain maximum residue levels for prohibited materials such as pesticides, but the EU Regulation 2092/91 does not use a case-by case approach with regard to contamination. This approach meets the interest of certifiers, operators (farmers, processors, importers) and consumers. Producers are held responsible to prevent contamination and should report all possible contamination risks, before yield. Besides, this way the method of organic farming is held more important than the end product, which is in some way a necessary protection for farmers.
Contamination, reducing, storage and transport - NL Skal Standards 2005
/style/images/fileicons/unknown.png
All contact with forbidden products should be avoided. This means that it is not allowed to store or transport the organic product in storage places or trucks where products are being used / have been used that are not mentioned in annex VI part A.
SKAL interprets the rule in a way that all prevention methods should be taken to avoid any risk of contamination, whereas the EU Regulation 2092/91 does not mention possible prevention methods. See EU Rule Text: Article 5 part 3 c), d) and part 5 d), e): The product contains no other products of non-agricultural origin, as mentioned in annex VI, part a" It seems easier to inspect the methods of storage and transport, than the contamination itself. Also because the contamination check can be too late (the product may be contaminated already).
Conversion period, plant production - NL Skal Standards 2005
/style/images/fileicons/unknown.png
SKAL has defined precisely the possibility to reduce the conversion period to only six months before cultivation starts. The owner of the land should officially approve that the soil is managed according to the EU Regulation on organic farming.
SKAL is only implementing the possibility of a derogation of the EU Regulation 2092/91, but does not make it more restrictive. The EU rule which is referred to is in Annex II, part B, 2.1.2: "By derogation from this principle, the conversion period may be reduced to one year for pastures, open air runs and exercise areas used by non-herbivore species. This period may be reduced to six months where the land concerned has not, in the recent past, received treatments with products other than those referred to in Annex II of this Regulation. This derogation must be authorised by the inspection authority or body." As the derogation must be authorised on national level, in this case by SKAL.
Conversion period, start date - NL Skal Standards 2005
/style/images/fileicons/unknown.png
The conversion period starts at the date set by SKAL. This date will be the day that the contribution to SKAL is paid by the producer / farmer.
SKAL sets the start date by financial contribution to SKAL, whereas the EU Regulation 2092/91 says it has to be 2 years before sowing. See Rule Text: "Annex I, part a) 1.1: The principles laid down in Article 6(1)(a), (b) and (d) and set out in particular in this Annex must normally have been applied on the parcels during a conversion period of at least two years before sowing, or, in the case of grassland, at least two years before its exploitation as feeding stuff from organic farming, or, in the case of perennial crops other than grassland, at least three years before the first harvest of products as referred to in Article 1(1)(a)." A certain starting point has to be given.
Conversion, microbial levels - NL SKAL Standards 2005
/style/images/fileicons/unknown.png
When, in special occasions, the microbiological activity is at a very low level, caused by mechanical non-penetrable covering, organic farming can only start 6 months after appropriate management of the soil.
SKAL defines a norm for the time needed for microbiological activity to recover after covering, whereas the EU Regulation 2092/91 has not defined such a period. See EU rule text: "Annex I, part a) 1.2: However, the inspection authority or body may decide, in agreement with the competent authority, to recognise this retroactively as being part of the conversion period" Microbial activity is necessary for good organic farming systems.
Conversion, polluted soil - NL SKAL Standard 2005
/style/images/fileicons/unknown.png
When the soil is chemically polluted, Skal will extend the period of conversion for as long as necessary to have no residues in the products.
Skal is more precise then the EU Regulation 2092/91 by defining when and how they will extend the period of conversion in cases of polluted soil. The EU rule Text ("Annex I, part a) 1.3) only mentions that the "the inspection authority or body may, with the approval of the competent authority, decide, in certain cases, to extend the conversion period beyond the period laid down in paragraph 1.1 having regard to previous parcel use." The risk of remaining residues in the soil from former use is seen as a justification to extend the conversion period.
Free range conditions, area, cattle/sheep - NL Skal Standards 2005
/style/images/fileicons/unknown.png
SKAL has set norms for the number of days dairy cows and sheep must be on pasture. SKAL rule Text: 2.3 article 5: Cows must spend at least 120 days on pasture, starting when they are 15 weeks or older. Dairy sheep must spend 180 days in pasture.
SKAL has set norms for the amount of days on pasture, whereas the EU Regulation 2092/91 has not defined the amount of days. All animals need time on pasture.
GMO-free declaration, non-organic inputs - NL Skal Standards 2005
/style/images/fileicons/unknown.png
A distinction is made between the control of organic and non-organic producers. Non-organic producers need a GMO-free pronouncement/confirmation."
SKAL obliges the producers of organic products to use only non-organic products with a GMO-free pronouncement/confirmation, whereas the EU Regulation 2092/91 does not mention anything about these confirmations. The Rule Text is very general: Article 5, part 3 h), part 5 f) and 5bis i): the product has been produced without the use of genetically modified organisms and/or any products derived from such organisms. The risk of GMO contamination is higher in non-organic products. GMO free pronouncements/confirmations can at least avoid some contamination risks.
Housing requierements / stocking rates - cattle / sheep for meat production
/style/images/fileicons/unknown.png
Skal has defined the norms for cattle and sheep held for meat production (Rule Text: 2.7 cattle and sheep held for meat production article 5 and 7): Until the age of 15 weeks, 4 till 6 animals must be housed as a group. After 15 weeks a minimum of 5 animals per each group is required. The space in the stable has to be 1,8 m² per animal till the age of 15 weeks, 2 m² till the age of 9 months and 6 m² starting from the age of 9 months. Calves till 15 weeks must have 125 m² outdoor access per animal. Sheep must have 2 m² per animal and 2.5 m² with lambs and be at least 300 days a year on the pasture.
In the EC-regulation Annex VIII of the EU Regulaton there it is only mentioned that 2.5 m² and 2.5 with 0.5 m² with lamb/kid per is requiered per head. It is not further specified. All animals need enough space and outdoor areas for natural behaviour. COMMENT: This could be included in the EEC regulation.
Labelling claims, processed products - NL Skal Standards 2005
/style/images/fileicons/unknown.png
It is not obligatory to mention the sentence "x% of the ingredients?." on the label of Dutch products with >70% organic ingredients.
SKAL has different labelling requirements to the EU Regulation 2092/91. SKAL does not require the use of this sentence in processed foods containing greater than '70% organic ingredients, but this is required by EU Regulation. See EU Rule Text: Article 5, M10 5bis c): on products with 70% or more organic ingredients, the sentence x% of the agricultural ingredients were produced in accordance with the rules of organic production must be on the label. This requirment is not seen as relevant for consumers.
Livestock housing and free range conditions, area, pigs - NL Skal Standards 2005
/style/images/fileicons/unknown.png
Skal has set specific norms for sows and pigs (Rule Text: 2.6 article 7 and 8): A sufficient amount of maternity stables, a minimum of 4.4 m² per sow space to lie down in, a total minimum space of 7.2 m² per sow and 40 m² of unpaved outdoor area per sow is required. Indoors the surface area per pig must be 0.6 m². Per 20 kg pig 0.1 m² extra outdoor area is required.
Skal has set more detailed norms for sows and pigs, whereas the EU Regulation 2092/91 has not regulated these norms in detail. Annex VIII in the regulation only mentions 7.5 m2 per sow and 2.5 m2 unpaved outdoor area. All animals need enough space and outdoor areas for natural behaviour.
Livestock housing and free range conditions, area, poultry, NL Skal Standards
/style/images/fileicons/unknown.png
Skal has defined the norms for turkeys (Rule text: 2.11 article 3, 4, 5 and 6): Turkey pullets must have access to 10 m² outdoor areas with shrubs and trees, during the daylight, when they are 8 weeks old, except from winter days in case of sickness. A maximum of 25 kg of animal per m² is allowed at any age. In the stable 50% of the surface must be available for scratching. Animals must have access to perches or elevations with a minimum length of 20 cm per animal. The stable must have openings to the pasture with a total length of 4 meter per 100 m² stable surface evenly distributed over the sides of the stable.
Stable and detailed outdoor requierements for turkeys are not defined in EU Regulation 2092/91 with the exception of the minimum outdoor area of Annex VIII (10 m² per head). All animals need enough space and outdoor areas for natural behaviour.
Livestock housing and free range conditions, general requirements, poultry - NL Skal Standards 2005
/style/images/fileicons/unknown.png
SKAL has set norms for poultry, concerning extension, space per animal, equipment, stocking rates. SKAL Rule Text: 2.4 article 1,2,3,4, 6 and 16: 8 week old hens must go outside, unless winter temperatures, with enough room to range freely and take a sandbath (2.5 m² per chicken). Only 7 young hens per m² stable are allowed. Shrubs and trees have to be present in the outdoor area. Per m² stable only 5 nests are allowed. 50% must be free-range area with dry bedding. Each hen must have 20 cm of perch. 1 nest per 6 hens must be available.
SKAL standards are more detailled compared to EU Regulation 2092/91. SKAL requires shrubs and trees to be present in the outdoor area and has further restrictions on animals per m² stable, on nests and perch space. EU is more general on open air runs (not specified for poultry) and is defining only the animlas per m² indoors and outdoors. All animals need enough space and outdoor areas for natural behaviour.
Livestock housing and free range conditions, general requirements, poultry - NL Skal Standards 2005
/style/images/fileicons/unknown.png
SKAL has set specific norms for meat pullets. see SKAL Rule Text: 2.5 article 2 and 3: Pullets must have 1,5 m² per pullet outdoor area. 50% of the outdoor area must be covered with shrubs and trees. The total number of animals allowed per m² is 28 till the age of 2 weeks, 14 till the age of 6 weeks, and 7 starting from the age of 6 weeks.
SKAL standards are more detailled compared to EU Regulation 2092/91. SKAL requires shrubs and trees to be present in the outdoor area and is grading the maximum number of animals per m² depending on the age of the animals. All animals need enough space and outdoor areas for natural behaviour.
Livestock housing and free range conditions, stocking rate, ruminants - NL Skal Standards 2005
/style/images/fileicons/other.png
he amount of space in a stable and minimum days on pasture for dairy sheep, goat and cows is defined. SKAL Rule Text: 2.3 article 4: dairy sheep need 1.5 m² per animal in a stable (indoor) and 2 m² when they have lambs. Goats need 1.8 m² per animal and 1 m² outdoor area
SKAL has set norms for the housing of dairy cattle, which require more space per animal than given by the EU Regulation 2092/91 annex VIII. (1.85 m² per sheep/goat with 1 lamb indoor). The amount of space needed per animal should be large enough.
Livestock housing, perches, poultry - NL Skal Standard 2005
/style/images/fileicons/other.png
SKAL has made norms for the size, material and position of the perches for poultry. SKAL's interpretation of perches is as follows: the material has to be wood, metal, or plastic. It has to be at least 30 mm² thick and 50% has to be above ground level.
The EU Regulation 2092/91 only defines the number of hens per perch/ m² and is more general (referring in Annex I part B 8.1.1, 8.2.2, 8.4.3): "they must have perches of a size and number commensurate with the size of the group and of the birds as laid down in Annex VIII" All animals need enough space and outdoor areas for natural behaviour.
Manure fertilizers, intensity - NL Skal Standard 2005
/style/images/fileicons/other.png
At least 20% of the manure used in organic farming has to be from organic farming. SKAL has set a maximum norm of 135 kg N/ha/ year conventional farmyard manure and a total maximum of 170 kg N/ha/year, 35 kg N/ha/year has to be of organic farming origin.
With regard to the use of farmyard manure SKAL sets lower limits for manure from conventional origin, while the EU Regulation 2092/91 only mentions "Need recognized by the inspection body or inspection authority, Indication of animal species." It is important to set a norm for the maximum amount of conventional farmyard manure, since organic farmers tend to use this a lot, because of the lower price. The Regulation has not defined it specifically, stating that there is not enough organic manure at the moment. There has to be a defined way to ensure that organic manure is used first.
Parallel production, grazing, livestock - NL SKAL Standards 2005
/style/images/fileicons/unknown.png
Non-organic livestock are allowed to use the paddocks of organic units for a maximum period of 7 months and must be managed as certified extensively reared livestock, defined in annex II, list a point 3.
SKAL has defined a maximum period of 7 months, whereas the EU Regulation 2092/91 has not defined this period. see rule Text: Annex I, part B 1.7: By derogation from this principle, livestock not reared in accordance with the provisions of this Regulation can use, for a limited period of time each year, the pasturage of units complying with this regulation, provided that such animals come from extensive husbandry. The rule gives more clarity.
Plant processing inputs, viticulture - NL SKAL Standards 2005
/style/images/fileicons/unknown.png
Skal has included the following specific additives to Annex VI for wine processing:E220 (sulfurdioxide) and E224 (Potassium-metabisulfide), citrus seed extract and ethyl alcohol.
Norms for processing of products that are not within the scope of the EU Regulation 2092/91, must correspond as much as possible with the processing standards in the EU Regulation. Exceptions are made for additives for cheese, non-food, dog and cat feed, wine and meat products, where SKAL has listed allowed additives. The EU Regulation has not regulated the processing of wine products yet. Rules for wine contribute to transparency and consumer trust.
Plant protection, copper - NL Regulation 2005
/style/images/fileicons/other.png
No forms of copper are allowed in the Netherlands: see also at www.ctb-wageningen.nl
In contrast to NL the EU Regulation 2092/91 lists in Annex II part B several permissable copper preparations Organic farming principles say that the use of pesticides etc. should be avoided. The use of copper should therefore, from the Dutch government's point of view, not be allowed in Europe or at least be restricted.
Processing and storage, separation - NL Skal Standards 2005
/style/images/fileicons/other.png
Skal has specified 'physically separate' for processing (Rule Text: Annex II part B, 3): The unit must have areas separated by place or time within the premises for the storage of products as referred to in Article 1, before and after the operations.
The SKAL standards contain precise definitions for the phrase 'physically separate', which is required for storage of organic and non-organic products, as 'another space' or 'products have to be separated by species' or 'the products have been sealed and contamination is impossible'. Contamination should be avoided as much as possible. Cases of contamination are not good for the image and reliability of organic products.
Processing inputs, cheese - NL SKAL Standards 2005
/style/images/fileicons/unknown.png
SKAL has included the following specific additives to Annex VI for cheese processing: Calcium chloride (CaCl2) and hydrochloric acid (HCl).
Norms for the processing of products that are not within the scope of the EU Regulation 2092/91 must correspond as much as possible with the processing standards in the EU Regulation. Exceptions are made for additives for cheese, non-food, dog and cat feed, wine and meat products. The EU Regulation has not regulated the processing of cheese products in detail. Since the cheese processing demands several additives, these should be permitted in general.
Processing inputs, dog and cat feed - NL SKAL Standards 2005
/style/images/fileicons/unknown.png
SKAL has included the following specific additives to Annex VI for dog and cat feed: ethylalcolhol, calcium, vitamins, minerals, spore elements, pure amino acids, organic acids, rosemary extract, fishmeal and chicken meal.
Norms for processing of products that are not within the scope of the EU Regulation 2092/91 must correspond as much as possible with the processing standards in the EU Regulation. Exceptions are made for additives for cheese, non-food, dog and cat feed, wine and meat products, which are not listed in the EU Regulation The EU Regulation has not regulated the processing of dog and cat feed products yet.
Processing inputs, non-food - NL SKAL Standards 2005
/style/images/fileicons/unknown.png
SKAL has included the following specific additives to Annex VI for non-food processing: ethylalcohol, glycerol, propyleenglycol.
Norms for processing of products that are not within the scope of the EU Regulation 2092/91 must correspond as much as possible with the processing standards in the EU Regulation. Exceptions are made for additives for cheese, non-food, dog and cat feed, wine and meat products. The EU Regulation has not regulated the processing of non-food products yet. Since non-food products can be of agricultural origin, it is important to include this area in the regulation too.