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
      • Care of environment - not in EC Reg
        • Contamination with pesticides/GMO
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Title Description Difference Justification and Comments
Contamination, GMO crops - UK Soil Association Organic Standards 2005 Genetically modified crops must not be grown on any holding in the same ownership or management as an organic holding. Applicants for conversion must inform the Soil Association if they have grown genetically modified crops in the previous three years. Soil Association Organic Standards. Paragraph 3.6.19. Soil Association standards contain a prohibition and a requirement not included in EU Regulation 2092/91. Soil Association standards prohibit the growing of any genetically modified crop on any land under the same ownership or management as an organic holding, and they require to be informed if an applicant for conversion has grown genetically modified crops in the previous three years. EU Regulation has no similar prohibition or requirement. The Soil Association standards aim to prevent any possible contamination of organic crops with genetically modified material by prohibiting the owner or manager of an organic holding. The requirement to be informed if an applicant has grown them in the previous three years would help them to be more vigilant if necessary in this aspect of inspection. Genetically modified organisms (GMO) are prohibited from use in organic farming because of the unpredictable nature of the technology, and the risks to health and the environment.
Contamination, GMO crops, location - UK Soil Association Organic Standards 2005 The organic farmer must inform Soil Association of any genetically modified crop being grown within 6 miles of an organic crop under their inspection system. Soil Association will assess the risk of contamination of the organic farm and crops. Soil Association Organic Standards. Paragraphs 3.6.20-3.6.22. Soil Association standards contain requirements not included in EU Regulation 2092/91. Soil Association standards require the organic farmer to inform them of any genetically modified crop being grown within 6 miles of the organic farm. Soil Association will assess the contamination risks and decide accordingly on further action. EU Regulation has no similar requirement. Although pollen from genetically modified crops can travel much further than 6 miles, the Soil Association have taken this distance as a reasonable cut-off point to identify possible contamination of organic farms and crops. Genetically modified organisms are prohibited from use in organic farming because of the unpredictable nature of the technology, and the risks to health and the environment.
Contamination, buffer zones, conventional agriculture - UK Soil Association Organic Standards 2005 Where organic crops are grown next to non-organic crops, there must be an effective windbreak if there is any risk of spray drift or other contamination. This buffer zone must be 10 metres wide, or increased to 20 metres if the organic crop is next to a sprayed orchard. Otherwise, there must be a buffer zone of specified width, within which the crops cannot be sold as organic. Soil Association Organic Standards. Paragraphs 3.7.2-3.7.4. Soil Association standards are very precise. They require that, where organic crops are growing next to non-organic crops, there must be an effective windbreak if there is any risk of spray drift or other contamination. Otherwise, there must be a buffer zone, within which the crops cannot be sold as organic. EU Regulation 2092/91 states only that the organic unit must have land parcels and production that are clearly separate from non-organic units. Soil Association standards are intended to minimise health risks that may result from the contamination of organic crops with prohibited inputs by minimising the amounts carried onto the holding by the wind. To be more effective in this purpose, the minimum requirements to achieve it are specified, whereas EU Regulation leaves the purpose and the means open to interpretation.
Contamination, buffer zones, medicinal plants - DE Bioland Standards 2005
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As a result of the special significance of medicinal plants, the location is especially relevant. The minimum distance to roads should be 50 m and to field paths 5 m if no suitable protective planting has been made. (Bioland production standards, 5.2.3 Selection of Location)
The BIOLAND standard has additional restrictions than the EU Regulation 2092/91, which requires the clear separation of the organic production facilities from any other production unit, but it does not indicate specific distances to roads. To ensure the innocuousness and high quality of BIOLAND certified herbs / medicinal crops.
Contamination, chlorinated hydrocarbons - AT Bio Austria General Standard 2006
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For vegetables, fruits and grain there are limits for residues of chlorinated hydrocarbons. In principle the limit is 0.01 mg/kg, and in exception lindane 0.02 mg/kg. (This rule is an order of the Codex Alimentarius Austriacus A 8 and therefore valid for vegetables of all organic farms in Austria, not only Bio Austria farms). (BA-Rules 2006 chapter 2.6, 5.1.3)
The Bio Austria General Standard is more detailed than the EU Regulation 2092/91 as the EU Regulation 2092/91 does not have specific limits for residues in organic crops or produce in general, especially not for chlorinated hydrocarbons. Consumer protection.
Contamination, farm machinery - SE KRAV Jan 2006
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The KRAV standards require that machinery such as seed drills, manure spreaders and sprayers used in conventional farming have to be well cleaned before use in organic farming (KRAV standards paragraph 3.1.11).
In EU Regulation 2092/91 there is a general statement that precautionary measures shall be taken to reduce the risk of contamination by unauthorised products throughout the production chain, but not a more specific statement. There is a risk of using the same machinery in conventional and organic farming. To request separate machinery is seen as too difficult and expensive. Therefore thorough cleaning is requested.
Contamination, food residues - NL Skal Standards 2005
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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, general requirements - SE KRAV 2006
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KRAV standards for some issues cover the whole farm and not only the farmland. Chemical pesticides can not be used on gravel paths, roads and farmyards. Cultivation of GMO-crops is not allowed on the conventional part of a holding. Environmental adapted substances must be used in facilities (e.g. toilets) where the drainage is connected to manure storages where the manure will be used in the organic farming (KRAV-standards paragraph 3.1.6).
The EU Regulation 2092/91 does not cover areas on the farm that are not farmland. For manure there are general standards that it should not be contaminated. This standard is mainly applicable for partly converted farms. Spraying herbicides against weeds on the farmyard or growing GMO crops on the conventional part is not trustworthy on a farm with organic production. This is the fact even if there are no risks for contamination.
Contamination, preventing - CZ KEZ Standards 2005
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Standards prescribe a number of specific preventive measures to prevent any contamination such as; buffer zones for prevention of contamination from parallel or conventional production, minimum distances from the land of the organic farm for using of chemicals for plant protection and mineral fertilizers, types of material for coverings, mulches, insect netting etc. and their disposal, cleaning of technical equipment and machinery simultaneously used in conventional agricultural systems and keeping of operation log book for them. See KEZ Standards Part II., Chapter General provisions..., Article 1.
CZ KEZ Standards require detailed measures to prevent contamination. No similar paragraphs are quoted in the EU Regulation 2092/91. KEZ Standards try to prevent any possible contamination of soil or crops.
Contamination, preventing - CZ PRO-BIO Standards 2004 In case of new sites and land areas, it is necessary to consider previous use. If a pollution risk exists, soil and products have to be analysed. No similar paragraph is quoted in the EU Regulation 2092/91. It is necessary to exclude previous contamination of natural background of new sites/farms.
Contamination, preventing, buffer zones - US NOP 2002 ยง 205.202 Land requirements. Any field or farm parcel from which harvested crops are intended to be sold, labelled, or represented as "organic," must: (c) Have distinct, defined boundaries and buffer zones such as runoff diversions to prevent the unintended application of a prohibited substance to the crop or contact with a prohibited substance applied to adjoining land that is not under organic management. The US require buffer zones whereas the EU does not. A buffer zone must be sufficient in size or other features (e.g., windbreaks or a diversion ditch) to prevent the possibility of unintended contact by prohibited substances applied to adjacent land areas with an area that is part of a certified operation. As long as an organic operation has not used excluded methods and takes reasonable steps to avoid contact with the products of excluded methods as detailed in their approved organic system plan, the unintentional presence of the products of excluded methods should not affect the status of an organic product or operation.
Contamination, preventing, contaminated areas - DE Bioland 2005
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Areas that are contaminated with harmful substances from the environment or from previous use of the area cannot be used for the production of BIOLAND food products (Bioland article 3.2 Location and 7.10 Contamination tests).
The BIOLAND standard has an specific provision, which is not in the EU Regulation 2092/91, regarding the handling of contaminated areas, but there is just a general statement about the possibility for the authorities to prolonge the conversion period for certain areas taking into account the prior use. To guarantee the innocuousness of BIOLAND products.
Contamination, testing, spraying equipment - CH Regulation/Ordinance 2005
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Organic farms must have their spraying equipment tested every 4 years.
Whereas the Swiss Ordinance requires spraytests, EU Regulation 2092/91 does not rule this point of concern. As good agricultural practise also in organic farming all spraying equipment must work perfectly in order to avoid non adequate application of agricultural substances.
Conversion, GMO crops - UK Soil Association Organic Standards 2005 A 5-year period is required from the harvest of any previous genetically modified crop before the land where it was grown may become fully organic. Soil Association Organic Standards. Paragraph 3.6.17. Soil Association Standards contain a restriction not included in EU Regulation 2092/91. Soil Association standards require a 5-year period from the harvest of any previous genetically modified crop before the land where it was grown may become fully organic. EU Regulation has no similar requirement. Soil Association standards aim to minimise the risks of contaminating organic crops with genetically modified plant material by requiring an extended period for conversion of land after cultivation of genetically modified crops. Genetically modified organisms are prohibited from use in organic farming because of the unpredictable nature of the technology, and the risks to health and the environment.
Fertilization, GMO derivatives - UK Soil Association Organic Standards 2005 It is prohibited to use any nutrient input for organic crop production that contains genetically modified organisms (GMO) or their derivatives. This includes manure produced by livestock fed or grazed on genetically modified material within the previous 3 months. Soil Association Organic Standards. Paragraph 3.6.7. Soil Association standards prohibits the use of manure produced by livestock fed or grazed on genetically modified material within the previous 3 months. EU Regulation 2092/91 has no clear restriction. The Soil Association standards aim to minimise the risk of contamination of organic crops with genetically modified plant material by prohibiting the use of any genetically modified crop nutrient inputs. Genetically modified organisms are prohibited from use in organic farming because of the unpredictable nature of the technology, and the risks to health and the environment.