Organic Rules and Certification

All differences in one table by EU regulation

  • EC Council Regulation No. 2092/91
    • Annex III - Minimum inspection Requirements/precautionary measures
      • General provisions
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Title Description Difference Justification and Comments
Certification, application - US NOP 2002
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§ 205.401- § 205.402 Application for certification. 1. The application must include the following information: - An organic production or handling system plan - The applicant's data such as name and address - Details on previous applications/certifications 2. Upon acceptance of an application for certification, a certifying agent must: - Review the application to ensure completeness and determine whether the applicant complies with the applicable requirements of subpart C; - Verify that any non-compliances of previous applications are solved - Schedule an on-site inspection
US require notification of previous applications and the outcome whereas the EU Regulation 2092/91 does not. Procedures of applications are slightly different since for US a production or handling plan must be submitted with the application and reviewed before inspection, whereas in the EU the full description of the unit must be drawn up when the inspection arrangements are first implemented. EU is more specific in declarations which have to be signed by operators.. No justification was available.
Certification, general requirements - US NOP 2002
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§ 205.400 General requirements for certification. A person seeking to receive or maintain organic certification must: (a) Comply with the Act and applicable organic production and handling regulations of this part (b) Establish an organic production or handling system plan (c) Permit on-site inspections (d) Maintain all records applicable to the organic operation for not less than 5 years (e) Submit the applicable fees (f) Immediately notify the certifying agent concerning any: (1) Application, including drift, of a prohibited substance (2) Change in a certified operation that may affect its compliance with the Act and the regulations in this part
They are no differences in the basic principles, however the US is more specific in the details compared to the EU Regulation 2092/91. EU does not define drift as a non-compliance with the Regulation and does not require notification of drift. However drift is subject to different interpretations in the EU. If the outcome of the investigation reveals that the presence of the detected prohibited substance is the result of an intentional application, the certified operation will be subject to suspension or revocation of its organic certification and/or a civil penalty. In cases of unintended drift the specific crop may not be sold as organic, but the organic status of future crop years are not affected since organic certification is a production claim, not a content claim.
Certification, general requirements - US NOP 2002
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§ 205.404 ? 205.406 Certification If the certifying agent determines that the operation is in compliance with the rules, he shall issue a certificate. In case of non-compliances the operator shall receive a description of each non-compliance and the facts upon which the notification of non-compliance is based. In a notice of denial, suspension or revocation of certification, the rights to reapply, request mediation or filing an appeal must be stated. To continue certification an updated organic production or handling system plan must be submitted and an annual inspection conducted.
US defines details of certificate, in EU Regulation 2092/91 this issue is covered by reference to EN 45011. In US certification continues in effect until surrendered by the organic operator or suspended or revoked by the certifying agent or authority. This is not defined in EU. US describe procedural details for granting, denial and continuation of certification. EU is less detailed. EU requires in case of manifest infringement to prohibit marketing of organic products for a period to be agreed with the competent authority. US allows for immediate re-application after denial of certification but requires 5 years before re-application following revocation. US requires annual update of production or handling plan, this is not specified by EU. No justification was available.
Collection of wild plants - DE Naturland 2005
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Wild grown collected products that are to be marketed with reference to organic certification must not be contaminated. (NL standards on production, Part B.IX. Wild grown products 2)
The NATURLAND standard is more precise. In the EU Regulation 2092/91 no specific provisions for the exclusion of contamination of wild products are given and no regular analysis are required. This is to ensure the organic integrity of the product.
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, pollution, highways - SE KRAV Standards 2006
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Areas were plants are cultivated and products stored should be located so that the production is not contaminated and the value of the production is reduced as food or feed. Crop production for food shall not be situated closer then 25 meters from roads having more then 3000 vehicles per 24 hours (KRAV Standards paragraph 4.2.1)
There are general requirements in the EU Regulation 2092/91 about the risk of contamination of products in the inspection requirements in Annex III but not in the production rules. There is no regulation of the distance to roads or other pollution sources in the EU Regulation 2092/91. This is a standard which has strong consumer support. The concern about contamination from cars into fields and crops close to roads is substantial. There is little scientific research in this area which should be of concern not only for organic but also for conventional produce.
Conversion period, CH Bio Suisse Standards 2005
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A conversion period of at least 2 full calendar years is required. No retrospective approval is granted (no reduction of the conversion period possible)
BIO SUISSE accepts a shorter conversion period for perennial crops than the EU Regulation 2092/91. EU applies a zero year which leads to a total of 36 months in perennials and 24 months in annual crops. BIO SUISSE however foresees the start for conversion only for January 1st of each calendar year and the application for conversion must be deposited by August 31st of the previous year (hereafter, no application of disallowed substances is allowed anymore). From Januray 1st of the first year of conversion, BIO SUISSE farms are allowed to market their produce under the claim 'in conversion' BIO SUISSE standards were in force before EU Regulation was created. BIO SUISSE does not allow a reduction of the conversion period in any cases.
Inspections, frequency - FR Regulation 2000
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The minimum number of inspections must be at least: 1 full physical check per annum for every operator, plus 1 check per group for table poultry, plus 50% random unannounced checks for every operator, except table poultry (50% unannounced checks per group) and processors (100% random unannounced checks).
French regulation stipulates a minimum number of unannounced random inspections and additional checks. EU Regulation 2092/91 does not specify the number of unannounced inspections. The aim is to reduce the risk of fraud and to harmonize the practices of certification bodies.
Inspections, general requirements - US NOP 2002 § 205.403 On-site inspections. A certifying agent must conduct an initial on-site inspection of each production unit. An on-site inspection shall be conducted annually thereafter. A certifying agent may conduct additional on-site inspections, announced or unannounced, of applicants for certification and certified operations. The Administrator or State organic program's governing State official may require that additional inspections be performed. The initial on-site inspection must be conducted within a reasonable time. The inspector must conduct an exit interview. The inspector shall provide the operation's authorized representative with a receipt for any samples taken by the inspector. There shall be no charge to the inspector for the samples taken. Both EU Regulation 2092/91 and US require annual inspections and additional announced or unannounced inspections. EU has a risk-based approach for additional visits; US does not specify this. US requires an exit interview, whereas EU does not specify this. The EU is more specific in documentary accounts. US require documents to be kept for 5 years, EU does not. EU requires in case of part conversion for crop and livestock production conventional units to be inspected, US requires operators to allow access to non-certified production and handling areas during inspection. No justification was available.
Inspections, specific provisions - US NOP 2002
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§ 205.403 ? 205.406 Inspection and certification US has no specific provisions for inspection of plant or animal production or processing but requires a production or handling system plan to be annually updated to describe in detail the management of the organic production.
EU Regulation 2092/91 has specific provisions for inspection in case an operator runs conventional and organic production units in the same area. The crop records must give a breakdown by plot and the livestock records detailed description on the herd and the herd management system. EU describes more detailed the provisions for records and for reception of products from other units and also covers provisions for sub-contracted units. US are less detailed. No justification was available.
Oeganic farmimg knowledge - DE Naturland 2005
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NATURLAND operators are required to PROVE their organic farming knowledge and ability and take part in an introductionary seminar, organised by NATURLAND. (NL standards on production A.I.8.Approval)
NATURLAND Standards require operators to prove their organic farming knowledge and to take part in an introductary seminar, but the EU Regulation 2092/91 does not require any proof of organic farming knowledge and ability of the farmer. This is to help farmers who want to convert and to avoid problems of approval caused by lack of knowledge or ability.
Plant production, location, hops - DE Bioland 2005
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Organic hop plantation next to conventional plantations must be provided with protective planting at the latest within 5 years after the beginning of the conversion period. Newly created hop cultivation is only allowed on bordering or isolated areas. The minimum distance to conventional plantations must be 10 m. Otherwise hop harvested from the outer rows cannot be marketed with reference to organic agriculture. The creation of areas of ecological compensation are required for hop cultivation in specific areas. (Bioland production standards, 5.7 Hop Cultivation, 5.7.1 Location and Area)
The BIOLAND standard is more detailed than the EU Regulation 2092/91. In the EU Regulation there is a general requirement of a clear separation of the organic production unit from any other production unit, however distances to conventional plantantions are not defined. Furthermore under BIOLAND standards in case of suspicion of contamination a product cannot be marketed with reference to organic agriculture unless it has been proven that the suspicion was wrong. Bioland is explicitely requiring an ecological compensation with diversified areas, whereas the EU Regulation has not such a specific requirement. In order to avoid contamination with objectionable substances. In order to cope with the ecological principle of organic agriculture.
Processing and storage, separation - NL Skal Standards 2005
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Skal has specified 'physically separate' for processing (Rule Text: Annex II part B, 3): The unit must have areas separated by place or time within the premises for the storage of products as referred to in Article 1, before and after the operations.
The SKAL standards contain precise definitions for the phrase 'physically separate', which is required for storage of organic and non-organic products, as 'another space' or 'products have to be separated by species' or 'the products have been sealed and contamination is impossible'. Contamination should be avoided as much as possible. Cases of contamination are not good for the image and reliability of organic products.