Organic Rules and Certification

All differences in one table by country standards

  • Organic regulations/standards by region
    • IFOAMS Basic standards
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Title Description Difference Justification and Comments
Animal fodder, origin - Int IFOAM Standards 2005
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The prevailing part (at least more than 50%) of the feed should come from the farm unit itself or be produced in co-operation with other organic farms in the region.(5.6.2)
Whereas the IFOAM limits the purchase of organic fodder by defined limits the EU Regulation 2092/91 states 50% of fodder that should be grown on farm (not mandatory). Fodder production and nutrients on farm should be in balance.
Aquaculture, general requirements - Int. IFOAM Standards 2005
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Conversion period, maintenance of aquatic ecosystems, the production of aquatic plants and breeds are ruled by IFOAM standards. Also detailed requirements on the nutrition of aquatic animals, health and welfare aspects as well as transport and slaughter are addressed by the standard. (9)
IFOAM has detailled rules for aquaculture. EU Regulation 2092/91 does not cover aquaculture. Aquatic systems are very vulnerable ecosystems. Specific rules on how to use natural or establish artifical aquatic systems are necessary in order to grant sustainability and credibility in the consumers perception.
Aquaculture, wild-harvest - Int. IFOAM Standards 2005
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Operators should take measures to ensure that wild, sedentary aquatic species are collected only from areas where the water is not contaminated by substances prohibited in these standards.(2.4.5)
IFOAM specifies necessary measures for collecting wild aquatic species whereas EU Regulation 2092/91 does not cover this. Products from wild harvest are expected to be free of residues or contaminants; this is a consumers expectation of organic food.
Biodiversity, landscape - Int. IFOAM Standards 2005
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Operators should take measures to maintain and improve landscape and enhance biodiversity quality.(2.1.)
Where as IFOAM requires a significant portion of the farm to be dedicated to facilitate biodiversity, no similar pargraph is quoted in the EU Regulation 2092/91. A diversified landscape underlines the individuality of the farm and supports the prosperous development of beneficials within the farm considered as an organism.
Collection of wild plants - Int. IFOAM Standards 2005
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The operator should ensure maintenance and sustainability of the ecosystem when harvesting or collecting the products.(2.4.)
Specific responsibilities of the operator are detailed in the IFOAM requirements, while EU Regulaation 2092/91 regulates this area in a more general way. Since wild habitats are very vulnerable, IFOAM requirements indicate the most important criteria to be respected, including the operator, before approval may be granted.
Conservation, primary ecosystems/rainforests - Int. IFOAM Standards 2005
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Clearing of primary ecosystems is prohibited.(2.1.2)
EU Regulation 2092/91 does not address this matter. Clearing of primary or high value conservation areas is an increasing problem in agriculture. Organic farming loses its credibility if such systems are cleared in order to establish organic plots instead.
Conservation, water - Int. IFOAM Standards 2005
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Operators should not deplete nor excessively exploit water resources, and should seek to preserve water quality. They should, where possible, recycle rainwater and monitor water extraction. (2.2.6)
EU Regulation 2092/91 does not address the matter of water depletion. Water is one of the most restricted common goods. Organic agriculture should use it in a sound manner to grant availablity for future generations.
Conversion period - Int. IFOAM Standards 2005 IFOAM standards require in general a period of at least 36 months for conversion. Depending on the previous land use, the conversion period can be reduced to 12 months. EU Regulation 2092/91 states that the minimum conversion period must be between 2 and 3 years: Generally a period of at least two years before sowing is required, or in the case of grassland at least two years before being used as an organic feedstuff, or in the case of perennial crops (excluding grassland) at least three years before the first harvest. IFOAM states at least 12 months prior to the start of the production cycle and in the case of perennials (excluding pastures and meadows) a period of at least 18 months prior to harvest However, where certain conditions are met the EU can make the minimum time 12 months. So in this respect there is some equivalency between both sets of standards. No justification was given.
Conversion period, land for livestock production - Int. IFOAM Standards 2005
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IFOAM requires a conversion period of at least 12 months prior to pastures, meadows and products harvested therefrom being considered organic. Landless animal husbandry systems are prohibited. (5.1.)
IFOAM requires 12 months of conversion for pastures, whereas according to EU Regulation 2092/91 a reduction down to 6 months conversion period is possible for pastures and meadows. In the context that a converson period enables the establishment of an organic management system IFOAM requires the longer conversion period than EU for pastures.
Conversion, livestock and animal products - IFOAM Basic Standards 2005
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5.2 Length of Conversion Period Where existing animals on a farm are converted to organic they should undergo a one-time minimum conversion period at least according to the following schedule: Production Conversion period · meat: 12 months · dairy: 90 days · eggs: 42 days
With the expeption that EU Regulation 2092/91 requires six months in the case of animals for milk production (and IFOAM only 90 days) , the timeframes for conversion periods for animal products are equivalent. No justification was available.
Int. IFOAM Standards 2005: Floor cover in perennial crops
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For perennial crops, the certifying body shall set minimum standards for orchard/plantation floor cover and/or diversity or refuge plantings in the orchard. (4.3.2.)
EC Regulation does not address the matter. An appropriate cover crop helps to prevent erosion and loss of nutrients in perennial crops.
Milk for offsprings - Int IFOAM Standards 2005
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Young stock from mammals should be provided with maternal milk or organic milk from their own species, and should be only weaned after a minimum time that takes into account the natural behaviour of the relevant animal species. Operators may provide non-organic milk when organic milk is not available. (5.6.8 )
EU Regulation 2092/91 requires strict limits before weaning, whereas IFOAM rules the matter in a more general way. The immune system of the calve is strengthened by antibodies contained in the mothers milk. Via interaction of the calves salvia with the udder the immune system of the mother may even respond to infections of the calve and release adequate antibodies with the milk.
Peat - Int. IFOAM Standards 2005 Peat is listed in Appendix 1 on the positive list, but may not be used for soil conditioning EU Regulation 2092/91 only lists peat as admitted 'fertilizer' limited to horticulture (market gardening, floriculture, arboriculture, nursery), whereas IFOAM restricts the application by excluding soil conditionning. No justification was given.
Plant protection, copper - Int. IFOAM Standards 2005
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Copper preparates are admitted and listed in the IFOAM positive list Appendix 3.
Whereas IFOAM restricts the application of copper to 8kg/ha and year, EU Regulation 2092/91 admits 8kg of copper till the end of 2005 and max 6kg of copper from the year 2006 onward. 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.
Plant protection, substances, weed control - Int. IFOAM Standards 2005
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Noxious weeds should be controlled by a combination of soil management and crop rotation measures. Application of products that are prepared at the farm from local plants, animals and micro-organisms, are permitted for weed control when crop rotation measures are insufficient. (4.5.)
IFOAM indicated methods for the control of noxoius weeds in detail and admitted substances are indicated. EU Regulation 2092/91 lists the latter in the positive list of ANNEX II B, such as 'Microorganisms approved for pest control'. No restrictions concerning the target organism are listed, therefore under EU Regulation these organisms are applicable for the control of noxoius weeds. No justification could be provided
Seed and plant material, origin - Int. IFOAM Standards 2005
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Organic seed and plant material should be used. In case of non availability, non organic seed is admittable (4.1.1. and 4.1.2).
EU Regulation 2092/91 rules the use of organic seeds similar as IFOAM. However if no organic seed is available as well untreated conventional seed and plant material, chemically treated seend and plant material may be used. The EU Regulation does not allow conventionally treated seed anymore. Furthermore the EU Regulation requires member countries to have a data base to document the availability of organic seed. In some countries it is not possible yet to get untreated seed for some species. However derogations must be limited in time and monitored by the certification body.
Social Justice - Int. IFOAM Standards - 2005
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Operators should have a policy on social justice. Violation of basic human rights and social injustice lead to non approval of the operation as organic. Forced labour and discrimination is prohibited. Child labour is accepted with clear constraints.(8)
EU Regulation 2092/91 does not address the matter. As organic farming is a method respecting nature in its whole, human beings who also belong to the system should also be treated in a respectful way.
Soil management, salination - Int. IFOAM Standards 2005
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Relevant measures should be taken to prevent or remedy soil and water salination.(2.2.5)
EU Regulation 2092/91 does not address the problem of salination, while IFOAM requires measures to prevent salination. Water salination is a irreversible damage to a common resource and therefore does not correspond with the general principles of organic agriculture.
Textiles, fibre - Int. IFOAM Standards 2005
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Minimal requirements for fibre processing are stated in the IFOAM standards such as: Operators should avoid the use of non-biodegradable, bio-accumulating input products and heavy metals. (6.7.)
EU Regulation 2092/91 does not cover the area of fiber processing.
Transport of livestock, general requirements - IFOAM Basic Standards 2005
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Transport should be done carefully and with respect: stress, fear and pain shall be avoided as much as possible. IFOAM generally limits the transport period to a maximum of 8 hours.
The EU Regulation 2092/91 has only general rules for the transport of organically raised animals: The transport has to be done in a gentle manner and prevent any unnecessary stress. There is no maximum transport time given. Stress to animals must be minimised.