Organic Rules and Certification

All differences in one table by EU regulation

  • EC Council Regulation No. 2092/91
    • Annex I. Principles of organic production and processing
      • C.Beekeeping and beekeeping products
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Title Description Difference Justification and Comments
Beekeeping, colonies - Demeter International 2005
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Colonies must not be united routinerary and queens must not be systematically replaced with the purpose of increasing the honey production. (DI production standards, 4.2 Methods for increasing Honey Production)
The DI standard is more detailed. The above mentioned methods to increase honey production are not prohibited by the EU Regulation 2092/91. It is a principle of Demeter beekeeping, that bees are kept in close accordance with their nature. "Bee keepers working in the context of biodynamics orientate themselves primarily towards meeting the natural requirements of the colony. Management is so structured that the bee is able freely to unfold its true nature."
Beekeeping, feed - Demeter International 2004
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Winter feed must contain at least 10% of honey; herb tea (camomile) and salt should be added. All feed components should be of biodynamic origin. The same feed can be used if feeding the colonies is necessary before the first nectar flow of the season, as well as to strengthen swarms and the colonies where the swarms come from. During the season only honey of Demeter quality is admitted for emergency feeding. Stimulative feeding is not permitted. (DI standards for beekeeping and hive products, 4.5 Feeding)
The DI standards are more precise. According to the EU Regulation 2092/91 honey from the same unit is to be used for feeding the bees if necessary; however feeding with organic sugar can be (and is) admitted by the authorities of the member states. This is also possible during the season, if the feeding is realized between the harvest of honey and 15 days before the next period of nectar or honeydew flow. Honey and pollen must be left in the hives at the end of the season. A certain percentage is not indicated. Biodynamic quality is not regulated by the EU Regulation. It is a principle of Demeter beekeeping, that bees are kept closely in accordance with their nature. Honey is the natural feed for bees. "Bee keepers working in the context of biodynamics orientate themselves primarily towards meeting the natural requirements of the colony. Management is so structured that the bee is able freely to unfold its true nature". (DI standards for beekeeping and hive products, 1.Validity and basis)
Beekeeping, general requirements - AT Bio Austria General Standard 2006
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The Bio AUSTRIA General Standard for bee-keeping is basically the requirement of the EU Regulation 2092/91 including some more detailed points: hive protection, management of colonies, building and storing of honey combs, wax processing, processing of extracted honey, honey storing and analysing, bees health. Additionally to the followings of the standard there must be made a wax analysis (mixed sample of hives medium walls and wax stocks) of residues of inadmissible Varroa- and wax moth-pesticides. • Honey must not be kept in containers made of synthetic substances (instead of stainless steel), because even food proved synthetic substances seem to emit softening agents which are supposed to be absorbed by honey changing the scent of it. • The residues must not be more than 0.5 mg/kg wax per active substance which corresponds to the provable limit. • In general there are big residue problems (the average values of wax are between 1.7 mg and 6 mg Apistan/kg, other chemicals can have much higher values). • Thymol (against Varroa) is not permitted because the residues in honey change the scent of it. (BA-Rules 2006 chapter 3.18)
The Bio Austria General Standard is more detailed than the EU Regulation 2092/91 as it provides analysis of wax for Varroa and wax moth control substances which are forbidden in organic agriculture. Residues may not exceed 0.5 mg/kg wax per substance. Further rules are specifications to the EU Regulation 2092/91 for bee keeping. Principle of care/precaution. No justification was provided by the standard-setting organisation.
Beekeeping, harvesting pollen - DE Bioland Standards 2005
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This chapter regulates in detail the collection of BIOLAND pollen. There are detailed provisions concerning the character, placement and cleaning of facilities for pollen, the extraction and the handling of the harvested pollen. Among others: It is important, that enough pollen for the bee's own supply is left in the hive and that bees are not injured while stripping off the pollen. The pollen has to be protected from negative impacts caused by climatic influences or inappropriate handling and processing (i.e. temperature of drying air). It must be stored in a cool, dark and dry place. (Bioland production standards, 4.10.4 Pollen, 4.10.4.1 Pollen trap; Bioland production standards, 4.10.4.2 Processing; Bioland production standards, 4.10.4.3 Packing and storage)
The BIOLAND standard is more detailed. The EU Regulation 2092/91 does not refer to the harvesting of pollen in detail. There is only the general requirement of adequate handling of bee products during harvest, processing and storage and to leave an extensive quantity of pollen in the hives at the end of the season. To avoid major disturbances of the colonies and to respect their integrity. To guarantee BIOLAND pollen to be a high quality product.
Beekeeping, harvesting pollen - Naturland 2005
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Care must be taken not to injure the bees when gathering pollen. The holes in the pollen comb should preferably be round. (NL standards for organic beekeeping II.5.Beekeeping practice, breeding, increasing stocks)
The NATURLAND standard is more detailed as the EU Regulation 2092/91 does not regulate this aspect. To care for the well-being of the animal.
Beekeeping, hive construction - DE Bioland Standards 2005
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The hives must be constructed using mainly natural materials and substances. Harmful types of glue, painting or varnish is prohibited. (Bioland production standards, 4.10.2.2 Hives)
The BIOLAND standard is similar but more precise in explicitly excluding the use of chemical synthetic substances for the construction of bee hives. To avoid contamination with objectionable substances.
Beekeeping, hive treatment - DE Bioland 2005
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The interior of the bee hives can only be treated with beeswax, propolis, plant oils or heat. For hygienic treatment heat, acetic acid, BT preparations (Bacillus thuringiensis) can be used. In case of acute infection caustic soda and organic acids can be used with subsequent neutralisaion with organic acids. (Bioland production standards, 4.10.2.2 Hives)
The BIOLAND standard is more detailed. Less products can be used for cleaning and disinfection of bee hives. According to the EU Regulation 2092/91 the products listed in Annex II B can be used to protect the hives from pest. Substances allowed for cleaning and desinfection are listed in Annex II E: Potassum and sodium soap, Water and steam, Milk of lime, Lime, Quicklime, Sodium hypochlorite (e.g. as liquid bleach), Caustic soda, Caustic potash, Hydrogen peroxide, Natural essences of plants, Citric, peracetic acid, formic, lactic, oxalic and acetic acid, Alcohol, Formaldehyde, Sodium carbonate. To avoid contamination of bee products with objectionable substances.
Beekeeping, hive treatment - Demeter International 2005
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The interior of the hives can only be treated with beeswax and propolis of Demeter quality. On the exterior only non-synthetic and ecologically safe wood preservatives can be applied. For cleaning and disinfection only heat is allowed. (DI production standards, 3.1 Interior Treatment; DI production standards, 3.2 Exterior Treatment; DI production standards, 3.3 Cleaning and Disinfection)
The DI standard is more detailed. According to the EU Regulation 2092/91 more substances are allowed for internal and external treatment and for cleaning and disinfection of the hives. Products of Demeter quality are not regulated. Natural substances are preferred. To avoid contamination with objectionable substances is another criterion.
Beekeeping, hive treatment - Naturland 2005
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For the external treatment of hives only natural substances are permitted. In case of acute infection, caustic soda can be used for disinfection. Combs can only be treated with acetic acids and BT preparations. (NL standards for organic beekeeping II: 2.1. Treatment of the hives 2.2. Cleaning and disinfection 3. Wax and honeycombs)
The NATURLAND standard is more detailled by allowing only natural substances for the external treatment of hives. According to the EU Regulation 2092/91 all the substances listed in the annex II B can be used to protect hives, frames and combs. For disinfection all the products listed in annex II E can be used. To avoid contamination with harmful substances.
Beekeeping, natural colonies - DE Bioland Standards 2005
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Colonies must have the opportunity to construct natural combs. (Bioland production standards, 4.10.2.3 Wax and Honeycombs)
The BIOLAND standard is more detailed. The EU Regulation 2092/91 does not require the natural construction of combs. To enable the bees to carry out their natural behaviour.
Beekeeping, natural combs - Demeter International 2005
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Bees must be able to freely and naturally construct the combs in the brood area. Waxen foundations can only be used for the combs in the supers. The brood area must not be divided. Separation barriers as part of the management system are not allowed. (DI standards for beekeeping and hive products, 4.4 The Comb; DI standards for beekeeping and hive products,4.4.1 Combs in the Brood Chamber; DI standards for beekeeping and hive products,4.4.2 Combs in the Supers)
The DI standard is more detailed. The EU Regulation 2092/91 does not require the natural construction of combs. Furthermore it does not prohibit the brood area to be divided or the use of barriers in the system. The comb is integral to the beehive. The colony is an entity and must not be divided. It is a principle of biodynamic beekeeping, that bees are kept closely in accordance with their nature. Beekeepers working in the context of biodynamics orientate themselves primarily towards meeting the natural requirements of the colony. Management is so structured that the bee is able freely to unfold its true nature. DI standards for beekeeping and hive products, 1. Validity and basis)
Beekeeping, natural combs - Naturland 2005
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The wax should be continuously renewed. The colonies should have opportunities to natural construction of honeycombs. (NL standards for organic beekeeping II.3. Wax and honeycombs)
The NATURLAND standard is more detailed. The EU Regulation 2092/91 does not require nor recommend the construction of natural honeycombs or continuous wax renewal. Accumulation of residues in the wax should be avoided. The construction of honeycombs is a vital element of the natural behaviour of bees.
Beekeeping, origin of wax - DE Bioland Standards 2005
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New foundations must be made from BIOLAND certified wax, generated from naturally built honeycombs or caps. It must be free from residues of prohibited insecticides. Wax must not have had contact with other chemicals. If no BIOLAND certified wax is available to exchange the wax during the conversion period, residue-free wax of conventional origin (from natural combs and caps) can be used. The use of plastic foundations is prohibited. (Bioland production standards, 4.10.2.3 Wax and Honeycombs; Bioland production standards, 4.10.5 Conversion)
The BIOLAND standard is more detailed. The EU Regulation 2092/91 does not refer to the handling of wax after harvest. Plastic foundations are not mentioned. The EU Regulation does not regulate the use of wax of BIOLAND certification. To ensure the wax to be free from contamination with harmful substances. A continuous renewal of wax is required in order to avoid the accumulation of residues in the hive.
Beekeeping, origin of wax - Demeter International 2005
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Wax brought in must be generated from natural combs or caps and preferably come from Demeter certified beekeepers. (DI standards for beekeeping and hive products, 4.4.3 Origin of wax)
The DI standard is more detailed. The EU Regulation 2092/91 does not regulate wax of Demeter quality, but allows the use of conventional wax from caps, if organic wax is not available. To ensure Demeter quality throughout the whole production chain and to avoid contamination with harmful substances.
Beekeeping, origin of wax and conversion - Naturland 2005
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Any wax to be introduced into the colonies must preferentially come from NATURLAND certified beekeepers. In case of proven unavailability certified organic wax or residue free conventional wax generated from caps can be used. Plastic foundations are not allowed. During the conversion period, the wax has to be replaced by organic wax respectively wax free from residues. For the extraction of wax, the use of solvents, bleaches or other additives is not allowed. (NL standards for organic beekeeping II.3. Wax and honeycombs)
The NATURLAND standard is more detailed by requiring NATURLAND certified wax if available and by explicitly requiring an analysis to prove the innocuousness of conventional wax. Moreover the EU Regulation 2092/91 does not prohibit the use of plastic foundations. Harvesting and processing of wax are not regulated in detail. There is however the general requirement of careful and adequate extraction, processing and storage of beekeeping products (Annex IC.7.7). To avoid contamination with objectionable substances.
Beekeeping, processing of wax - Demeter International 2005
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Wax must not come into contact with solvents, thinners, bleaching agents or other similar materials. Equipment and containers used must be made of non-oxidising materials or with nonoxidising coating. (DI standards for beekeeping and hive products, 4.4.4 Wax Processing)
The DI standard is more precise. The EU Regulation 2092/91 does not explicitly refer to wax processing, but contains a general requirement for the careful and adequate processing of bee products. To avoid contamination with harmful substances and to ensure the high quality of Demeter wax.
Beekeeping, production and handling products - US NOP 2002 Apiculture products may be certified to the existing NOP regulations which will be amended in future rulemaking to cover any unique production and handling requirements. NOP does not have specific provisions on apiculture. The EU Regulation 2092/91 has specific provisions. The NOP intends to provide standards for categories where the Act provides the authority to promulgate standards. These standards will be build upon the existing final rule and will address only the unique requirements necessary to certify these specialized operations.
Beekeeping, repellent/calming synthetic chemicals - DE Bioland Standards 2005
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No chemical synthetic materials may be used to calm or drive away the bees. (Bioland production standards, 4.10.2.4 Calming and Driving away Bees)
The BIOLAND standard is slightly more precise. The prohibition of chemical synthetic repellents in the EU Regulation 2092/91 is limited to the purpose honey extraction. In order to minimise disturbance to the bees.
Beekeeping, reproduction - DE Bioland 2005
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Natural reproduction methods are to be preferred and the swarming instinct has to be considered. Artificial insemination is only allowed in specific cases and after approval has been given by BIOLAND. (Bioland production standards, 4.10.2.8 Bee breeding)
The BIOLAND standard is more detailed. The corresponding EU Regulation 2092/91 does not refer to breeding methods for bees. The preference of natural reproduction methods is a principle of the BIOLAND Association. The objective of the breeding is the keeping of varroa-tolerant bees in a manner suited to the ecological conditions. (Bioland production standards, 4.10.2.8 Bee breeding)
Beekeeping, reproduction - Demeter International 2005
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Propagation of the colonies and selective breeding must be based on the swarming instinct of the bees. Artificial queen breeding, instrumental insemination and genetic engineering is prohibited. (DI production standards, 4.1 Colony Increase and Selective Breeding)
The DI standard is more detailed. Apart from the exclusion of genetic engineering, no specific requirements are indicated regarding the breeding techniques and propagation methods for bees in the EU Regulation 2092/91. Bee keepers working in the context of biodynamics and orientate themselves primarily towards meeting the natural requirements of the colony. Management is so structured that the bee is able freely to unfold its true nature. Swarming is a vital element of the natural behaviour of the bees. It contributes to the fortification of the bee hive, which is an important aim of Demeter beekeeping.
Beekeeping, reproduction - Naturland 2005
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Natural methods for breeding and reproduction are to be preferred. For the propagation of colonies, the swarming instinct should be taken into account. Artificial insemination of queen bees for breeding purposes needs approval by NATURLAND. (NL standards for organic beekeeping II.5.Beekeeping practice, breeding, increasing stocks)
The NATURLAND standard is more detailed. The EU Regulation 2092/91 does not regulate the propagation of colonies. Swarming instinct and artificial insemination are not mentioned. In order to use the natural disposition to reproduction for the propagation of colonies and make it more natural.
Honey, processing and storage - Demeter International 2004
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The temperature of honey should never exceed 35°C. Pressurised filtration is not permitted. The honey should be filled into containers of glass or metal before any solidification occurs. In some cases subsequent refilling is admitted, but certain requirements concerning the heating method and temperature, the documentation and the containers have to be complied with. Honey must be stored in a dark, cool and dry place. (DI standards for beekeeping and hive products, 5. Honey Extraction; DI standards for beekeeping and hive products, Appendix 3 Transportation, Decanting, Heating)
The DI standard is more detailed. The EU Regulation 2092/91 does not explicitly refer to the extraction, further processing and storage of the honey. There is however the general requirement of careful and adequate handling of the bee products. To avoid damaging the quality of the product.
Honey, prohibited pasteurisation - UK Soil Association Organic Standards 2005 It is prohibited to pasteurise honey. Honey liquification temperatures must be below 60°C, and held for less than 6 hours. Soil Association Organic Standards, Paragraph 41.2.10. Soil Association standards prohibit the pasteurisation of honey and restrict the liquification temperature and time. EU Regulation 2092/91 does not include this prohibition or restriction. The heat involved in pasteurisation has adverse effects on honey quality, including loss of volatile compounds, accumulation of hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) and reduction of enzyme activity.
Honey, quality - DE Bioland Standards 2005
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BIOLAND honey for consumption must fulfil specific quality criteria concerning the content of water (max. 18%, resp. 21.5% for heathland honey), HMF (max. 10 mg/kg), and invertase (min. 10 units, resp. 7 for acacia and linden honey). Furthermore it must be free from residues from medical treatment. BIOLAND standards (Bioland production standards, 4.10.3.3. Measurable Quality Criteria of the Honey)
The BIOLAND standard is more detailled. There are no measurable quality criteria for organic honey indicated in the EU Regulation 2092/91. To ensure BIOLAND honey to be a high quality product. In Germany the quality is regulated by the german honey regulation which indicates a higher permissible water content, a lower content of HMF and a minimum of 65% of invert sugar.
Honey, quality - Demeter International 2004
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The honey must fulfil certain measurable quality criteria in terms of water content, HMF content and invertase level: Water content - measured according to DIN/AOAC - 18% maximum and for heather honey 21.4% . The HMF content - measured according to Winkler - 10 mg/kg maximum . The Invertase level - measured according to Hadorn - must be at least 10 (except honeys with a low content of enzymes like honey from acacia). (DI standards for beekeeping and hive products, 5.3 Quality Analysis; DI standards for beekeeping and hive products, Appendix 1 Measurable Honey Quality Requirements)
The DI standard is more detailed. The EU Regulation 2092/91 does not regulate quality criteria of organic honey. To make sure that only high quality honey is sold as Demeter certified honey.
Honey, quality - Naturland 2005
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NATURLAND certified honey which is to be sold for consumption has to meet certain quality criteria for water content, HMF content and invertase index. ("In addition to the legal stipulations, the following criteria must be fulfilled: - water content, measured by the AOAC method, max. 18% (heather honey 21.5%) - HMF ( = Hydroxymethylfurfural)-content, measured according to Winkler, max. 10 mg/kg6 - invertase Index, min. 10 (Hadorn-/Gontarski unit). In the case of honey from acacia, lime trees and phacelia, min. 7 (analyses according to AOAC = Association of Official Agricultural Chemists"). Otherwise the honey can be sold for processing purposes. (NL standards for organic beekeeping II.8.4 Measurable quality of the honey)
The NATURLAND standard rules quality criteria for honey in detail. The EU Regulation 2092/91 does not regulate quality criteria for honey. This aspect is regulated by the legal provisions of the member states, and there it is identical for both organic and conventional produce. To ensure NATURLAND honey to be a high quality product.
Labelling claims, honey - DE Bioland Standards 2005
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Containers with honey to be sold to the consumer must show the following text: As a result of the large radius of flight of the bees it cannot be expected that in all cases they will fly over only or mainly organically farmed areas (or in a similar form). (Bioland production standards, 4.10.3.4 Declaration)
The BIOLAND standard is more detailled. The EU Regulation 2092/91 does not require an explanation of organic honey to be published on the label. To increase transparency for the consumer.
Labelling claims, honey - Demeter International 2004
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n the labelling of Demeter certified honey there must be an indication regarding the definition of Demeter quality of honey: 'The special quality of Demeter honey derives from a unique, species appropriate approach to bee keeping. Due to their extensive flying range, bees cannot be expected to fly solely over biodynamically managed areas.' (DI standards for beekeeping and hive products, 10. Demeter Hive Product Identification)
The DI standard is more detailled. The EU Regulation 2092/91 does not require an explanation of organic honey to be published on the label. To increase transparency for the consumer.
Labelling claims, honey - Naturland 2005
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On the label of NATURLAND certified honey it must be stated clearly, that the bees are not only visiting plants on organically farmed land, but that the definition of organic quality of honey is related to the beekeepers' method of working. (NL standards for organic beekeeping II.9. Labelling)
The NATURLAND standard requires detailed labelling of honey. According to the EU Regulation 2092/91 no specific indication on honey labels is required. To increase transparency for the consumer.