Organic Rules and Certification

All differences in one table by country standards

  • Organic regulations/standards by region
    • Codex Alimentarius Guideline
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Title Description Difference Justification and Comments
Animal breeding, general requirements - Int. Codex Alimentarius Guidelines 2005 The choice of breeds, strains and breeding methods shall be consistent with the principles of organic farming. CODEX does not list acceptable breeding techniques but leaves it to a very general wording of adapted breeding methods, while the EU Regulation 2092/91 more clearly excludes certain breeding techniques. No justification was available.
Animal fodder, conventional/organic feed - Int. Codex Alimentarius Guidelines 2005
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All livestock systems should provide the optimum level of 100% of the diet from feedstuffs (including 'in conversion' feedstuffs) produced to the requirements of these guidelines. (Codex Alimenarius Article 13) For an implementation period to be set by the competent authority, livestock products will maintain their organic status providing feed, consisting of at least 85% for ruminants and 80% for non-ruminants and calculated on a dry matter basis, is from organic sources produced in compliance with these Guidelines(Article 14).
The Codex Alimentarius Guidelines do allow a higher percentage of conventional feed compared to the EU Regulation 2092/91, which has been changed in the year 2005 and is reducing in a step-wise procedure the amount on non-conventional feed: until 31 December 2007 for herbivores 5 % and for non-herbivores 15 %. After this period these amounts will be further reduced. Whereas Codex Alimentarius does not set any limits for the purchase of organic off farm fodder, the EU Regulation requires 50% of the feed of herbivores to come from the farm unit itself or in case this is not feasible, be produced on other organic farms. As the Codex Alimentarius Guidelines is a world-wide guideline for national regulations, the requirements for organic feed allow some more flexibility for national competent authorities regarding the use of non-organic feed due to the fact that not in all countries the production of organic feed is already sufficient developed. The principle of availabilty is relevant.
Animal fodder, origin - Int. Codex Alimentarius Guidelines 2005 All livestock systems should provide the optimum level of 100% of the diet from feedstuffs (including 'in conversion' feedstuffs) produced to the requirements of these guidelines. For an implementation period to be set by the competent authority, livestock products will maintain their organic status providing feed, consisting of at least 85% for ruminants and 80% for non-ruminants and calculated on a dry matter basis, is from organic sources produced in compliance with these Guidelines.(Annex I B 13./14.) Whereas CODEX does not set any limits for the purchase of organic off farm fodder, the EU Regulation 2092/91 suggests 50% of the fodder should be grown on farm (not mandatory). No justification was available.
Collection of wild plants - Int. Codex Alimentarius Guidelines 2005
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The operator should provide for maintenance and sustainability of the ecosystem when harvesting or gathering the products.
Specific responsibilities of the operator are detailed in the Codex Alimentarius requirements, while the EU regulation 2092/91 rules this area in a more general way. Wild habitats are very vulnerable: Codex Alimentarius requirements to indicate the most important parameters to be respected before approval may occure to grant sustainability.
Conversion of land, livestock production - Int. Codex Alimentarius Guidelines 2005
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The competent authority may reduce the conversion periods in the certain cases a) pasture, open-air runs and exercise areas used by non-herbivore species; b) for bovine, equine, ovine and caprine coming from extensive husbandry during an implementation period established by the competent authority or dairy herds converted for the first time; c) if there is simultaneous conversion of livestock and land used only for feeding within the same unit, the conversion period for both livestock, pasture and/or land used for animal feed, may be reduced to two years only in the case where the existing livestock and their offspring are fed mainly with products from the unit.
The rules for conversion are comparable with the EU Regulation 2092/91. Codex Alimentarius requires as well at least 2 years conversion period except for non-herbivores. For the latter, the competent authorities may decide upon the reduction of the conversion period, in the EU this iso one year for pasturages, open air runds and exercised areas, which can be reduced to 6 months, when the land concerned has not, in the recent past, received treatments with non-allowed products. Codex Alimentarius does not limit this to 6 months. The possibility for a certain regional flexibility on national level should be given.
Free range conditions, access - Int. Codex Alimentarius Guidelines 2005
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Codex Alimentarius in general requires free range conditions for all animals, but also accepts that animals are confined for temporarily restricted times and certain reasons.
The EU Regulation 2092/91 requires specific minimal sizes of free range areas as well as indoor housing areas for different animal species. Codex Alimentarius does not set figures for this area. Codex Alimentarius Guidelines is a guidance for governments. Therefore making detailed rules for indoor and outdoor areas on a world-wide level was not seen as appropriate.
Manure fertilizers, intensity - Int. Codex Alimentarius Guidelines 2005
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Manure application rates should be at levels that do not contribute to ground and/or surface water contamination. The competent authority may establish maximum application rates for manure or stocking densities. The timing of application and application methods should not increase the potential for run-off into ponds, rivers and streams.
Whereas the EU Regulation 2092/91 strictly limits the input of farmyard manure to a maximum level of 170kgN/ha, CODEX Alimentarius Guidelines does not set any limits for the level of nutrient input but leaves this up to the competent authorities. As the Codex Guidelines are a guidance for national regulations it does not make sense to set a maximum limit which would be applicable everywhere in the world.
Milk for offspings - Int. Codex Alimentarius Guidelines 2005 Specific lievestock rations should take into account the need of young mammals for natural and preferably maternal milk (Annex I B 16) The EU Regulation 2092/91 requires a minimal time period of suckling before weaning, whereas CODEX rules the matter in a more general way. No justification was available.
Plant protection, copper - Int. Codex Alimentarius Guideline 2005
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Copper preparates are admitted and listed in the CODEX positive list Appendix 2.
Whereas CODEX does not set limits for copper application per hectare and year, EU Regulation 2092/91 admits 8 kg of copper till the end of 2005 and max 6 kg of copper from the year 2006 onward: No restrictions are made in terms of crops being treated with copper preparations in either of the two regulations. Copper is being accumulated in the soil: in order to promote sound soil fertility, any accumulation of heavy metals should be avoided - therefore a restriction on the use of metalic copper is necessary.
Seed and plant material, origin - Int. Codex Alimentarius Guidelines 2005
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Seeds and vegetative reproductive material should be from plants grown in accordance with the provisions of Section 4.1 of these guidelines for at least one generation or, in the case of perennial crops, two growing seasons.
Codex Alimentarius Guidelines rules the use of organic seeds comparable with the EU Regulation 2092/91 but allows when not untreated seeds are available treated seed with substances not listed in the Annex 2. In addition the EU Regulation requires member countries to have a data base on the availability of organic seed. In many countries outside the EU it is not always possible to get untreated seed.
Veterinary treatment, number of treatments - Int. Codex Alimentarius Guidelines 2005 Withholding periods for chemical allopathic veterinary drugs or antibiotics should be not less than double of that required by legislation, in any case a minimum of 48 hours.(Codex Alimentarius Guidelines Article 20) Codex Alimentarius is more general than the EU Regulation 2092/91, where more than 3 course of treatments within one year (with the exception of vaccinations, treatments against parasites or compulsary treatments established by member states)lead to disapproval of the animal. The Codex Alimentarius Guidelines are a guidance for governments and not a standard or a regulation on itself, therefore it cannot be so specific.