Organic Rules and Certification

All differences in one table by EU regulation

  • EC Council Regulation No. 2092/91
    • Rules of production and preparation - Art.6
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Title Description Difference Justification and Comments
Full farm conversion - DK Governmental Guidelines 2006
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Conversion of the whole farm including own and leased areas, buildings and animals shall be started within 4 years after the beginning of the conversion according to DK Governmental Guidelines on Organic Agricultural Production, 2006, Section 2.1: Conversion to organic agricultural production.
It is generally required that the whole farm including land, buildings and animals is converted, and the conversion of all land and animals shall be started within 4 calendar years after entering into conversion according to the DK Governmental Guidelines on Organic Agricultural Production, October 2006. According to the EU Regulation 2092/91 Article 6, Annex I A, Article 1 and Annex I B, Article 2 there is no requirement on conversion of the whole farm and therefore also no requirement on how long time the conversion of the whole farm is allowed to take. In the DK Governmental Guidelines there are some derogation possibilities, which are described in Section 2.1 and 2.2, but they will need individual approval by the certification and inspection authority, the Plant Directorate. Organic farming is a land based activity with a holistic approach. It is not logic to convert a piece of land or a special plant or animal production while leaving the rest of the production conventional.
GMO-free declaration, non-organic inputs - NL Skal Standards 2005
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.
GMO-free declaration, non-organic inputs - UK Soil Association Organic Standards 2005
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Producers must obtain a signed declaration form from suppliers of non-organic inputs to verify that these do not contain any GMO derivatives. Soil Association may require further proof in the form of genetic analysis, paid for by the producer. Mixed or compound concentrate feeds must be certified by an organic certification body, even if they contain only non-organic ingredients, to prove they are non-GMO. (Soil Association Organic Standards. Paragraph 3.6.5.)
Soil Association Standards require that suppliers of non-organic inputs to organic producers or processors must sign a declaration to state that these inputs contain no GMOs or their derivatives. Although EU Regulation 2092/91 prohibits the use of GMO derived inputs, there is no requirement for this supplier declaration. Soil Association standards are intended to ensure verifiable compliance with requirements to use only non-GMO materials. Genetic modification is an unproven technology and may have unpredictable effects.
Labelling claims, shops and supermarkets - SE KRAV 2006
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There are requirements for how a shop or a supermarket can call themselves KRAV authorised. They shall contribute to increased availability of organic products through having a wide range certified products and have a well informed staff. The range of products shall reflect what is available on the market and the objective is that the consumer shall be able to choose organic alternatives from all product groups. The standard also covers repacking of products at the shop or supermarket. (KRAV standards chapter 15).
Standards for shops and supermarkets are not covered in EU Regulation 2092/91. To authorise shops for handling of organic products and for promotion of organic production will increase the knowledge about organic agriculture and the availability of products. With well trained personnel it also increases the security that organic products are handled in the right way and not commingled with other products.
Parallel production, GMO - CZ KEZ Standards Complete exclusion of GMOs is required, not only in veterinary treatment but also in parallel conventional production. GMO's or their products may not be used in either part of the farm. The KEZ standards prohibit the use of GMOs in non-organic, split production, but the EU Regulation 2092/91 Article 6.1d) requieres only that genetically modified organisms and/or any product derived from such organisms must not be used, with the exception of veterinary medicinal products. EU Regulation does not deal with parallel conventional production and GMOs. Complete exclusion of GMOs and their products on the whole farm reduces the risk of contamination.
Plant production, breeding techniques - Demeter International 2005
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No hybrids of cereals with the exception of corn (Zea Mays) can be used for the production of food and feed crops. No breeding techniques such as protoplasm and cytoplasm fusion or genetic modification may have been applied in the production of the plant propagation material to be used. (DI production standards, 3.1. Seed and propagation material)
The DI standard is more restrictive by prohibiting plant propagation material produced with breeding techniques based on genetic modification, protoplasm and cytoplasm fusion and hybridisation. The EU Regulation 2092/91 only excludes the use of genetically modified plant propagation material, but it does not refer to other breeding techniques. Hybrids in general have a lower quality concerning nutritional aspects. The breeding technique as well is in opposition to the understanding of biodynamic farming. For more details visit
Processing, origin of ingredients - FI Luomuliitto Standards for "Leppäkerttu" quality label 2004 The basic ingredients of processed products must be 100 percent of Finnish origin and at least 75 percent of ingredients in total. It is recommended that 100 percent of animal feeds are of Finnish origin. EU Regulation No. 2092/91 does not address the issue of geographical origin of the ingredients. Domectic source of ingredients of processed products is regarded important in the eyes of consumers and from the point of view of organic principles.
Seed and plant material, origin - DE Bioland 2005
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Organic plant propagation material must be used if available. For perennial crops vegetative propagation material from BIOLAND certified origin must be preferred. In case of unavailability and with the approval of BIOLAND, plant propagation material of conventional origin can be used. Conventional seedlings for perennials must pass the conversion period in a separated place before being sold with reference to BIOLAND. After August 2006 only organic plant propagation material shall be used. (Bioland production standards, 3.6.2 Organically Produced Seeds and Plant Materials; Bioland production standards, 3.6.5 Young Plants for Perennial Crops; Bioland production standards, 5.8.4 Seedlings)
The Bioland standard is similar but slightly more restrictive in the requirement to use Bioland material with preference and in expressing the intention not to use conventional material after 2006. According to the EU Regulation 2092/91 conventional seeds can be used after approval if no variety of the requested quality is available in a country, according to the national data base. The handling of BIOLAND certified material is not regulated. To ensure organic quality throughout the whole production chain and in order to stimulate the development of the organic seed production sector. The date is derived from the date of revision of the EU seeds regulation. A complete prohibition of conventional seeds after 2006 however is unlikely.
Seed and plant material, origin - Demeter International 2005
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Seeds and vegetative propagation material must originate from biodynamic agriculture if available. Open pollinated varieties of biodynamic origin should be preferred. For vegetable production and potatoes propagation material from organic origin can be used, if biodynamic material is not available. If organic sources are not available, untreated material of conventional origin (excluding young plants/seedlings) may be used after approval by the respective organisation. Unavailability must be documented. (DI production standards, 3.1 Seed and propagation material; DI production standards, Appendix 7, APP 1)
The DI standard is more detailed in the aspect to require prefence of open pollinated varieties and plant propagation material from biodynamic sources. In case of unavailability and after approval conventional material can be used. The EU Regulation does not refer to open pollinated varieties and does not regulate biodynamic quality. The use of conventional seeds or vegetative plant propagation material can be approved if the desired crop and variety is not available in organic quality according to the national data base for organic seeds. The aim is to grow plants of the best nutritional quality and to ensure biodynamic quality throughout the whole production chain. Hybrids are considered to have a lower quality concerning nutritional aspects. Hybridisation as breeding technique is in opposition to the understanding of adequate biodynamic methods. For more details visit
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.
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.
Seed and plant material, origin - US NOP 2002
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The producer must use organically grown seeds, annual seedlings, and planting stock: Exceptions: In case equivalent organically produced varieties are not commercially available the following is allowed: (1) Non-organically produced, untreated seeds and planting stock; (2) Non-organically produced seeds and planting stock that have been treated with a substance included on the "National list of synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production". (3) Non-organically produced annual seedlings may be used when a temporary variance has been granted; (4) Non-organically produced planting stock to be used to produce a perennial crop only after the planting stock has been maintained under a system of organic management for a period of no less than 1 year; and (5) Products treated with prohibited substances may be used when the application of the materials is a requirement of Federal or State phytosanitary regulations. Organically produced seed must be used for the production of edible sprouts.
The EU Regulation 2092/91 requires the EU Member States to set up a database on the availability of seed varieties and seedlings. The US does not have an equivalent database. The EU specifies in Regulation (EG) 1452/2003 the conditions for authorizations for use of conventional seeds. The US does not. The EU aims at publishing a list of seeds and propagation material where no authorizations may be granted. The US does not mention this. EU does not allow using conventional seedlings. US do when a temporary variance has been granted. US specifically require organic seeds for edible sprouts; EU does not. US allows treatment of propagation materials with prohibited substances when mandated by phytosanitary regulations. EU does not contain such a provision. There was no official justification provided by USDA.
Standards, restaurants and industrial kitchens - SE KRAV 2006
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The standards for restaurants and industrial kitchens cover the whole or parts of the operations. Restaurants with á la carte menu need to have two approved main courses daily. On a lunch menu there shall at least be one approved course weekly. An approved dish shall have 100% KRAV certified ingredients, if organic ingredients are not available, a conventional ingredient can be used but at least 70% of the dish shall be organic. Only food additives and processing aids allowed by the KRAV standards can be used in a certified main course (includes additives and processing aids in conventional ingredients). Bread, salads, drinks, coffee, tea, ketchup etc shall also be possible to the extent possible. A certified buffet there must be a complete meal of KRAV certified products. A certified breakfast shall contain certified products in several of the type of food served for breakfast (bread, cheese, yoghurt, marmalade, breakfast cereals, fruits, vegetables, eggs etc). A certified café shall have KRAV certified coffee, tea, milk, sugar, fruit drinks, sandwiches, cakes and fruit if these products are served. There is also standards for handling of organic products so that no commingling with conventional products occur or contamination from cleaning. There are also standards for the labelling of dishes and statements about organic ingredients shall be made so consumers are sure which ingredients/ dishes are organic. (KRAV standards chapter 16).
EU Regulation 2092/91 does not have any specific standards for restaurants or industrial kitchens. More and more food is consumed outside of homes. There is an interest both by consumers and by restaurants and other industrial kitchens to eat or serve organic food. The KRAV standards are relatively open and are set with the argument to make it possible for several to start to serve organic food. Labelling has to be clear so that consumers are well informed. In the EU there are different interpretations in different Member States if restaurants are covered or not.