Organic Rules and Certification

All differences in one table by Subjects

  • Subject Areas
    • Pollution risks/non permitted inputs
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Title Description Difference Justification and Comments
Beekeeping, siting of apiaries - UK Soil Association Organic Standards 2005 Apiaries must be sited on organic land. During flowering and when bees are not dormant, the apiaries must be sited where there is access to bees normal feed resources, where nectar and pollen resources consist essentially of organic crops or uncultivated land within a 4-mile radius around the site (or less with evidence of organic integrity of the honey), and where there is sufficient distance from sources of non agricultural pollution. Soil Association Organic Standards. Paragraphs 15.4.3, 15.4.4 and 15.4.6. Soil Association standards contain further restrictions to the EU Regulation 2092/91. In Soil Association standards for organic honey production and bee keeping, a radius of 4 miles is required around the apiary site, within which nectar and pollen sources must consist essentially of organic crops or uncultivated land during periods of flowering and bee activity. Soil Association permission may be given for a smaller radius if evidence can be provided of the organic integrity of the honey, such as pesticide residue analysis of the honey and land management information about the surrounding land. In EU Regulation, this radius is 3 kilometres and there is no mention of provision of extra information. The larger area of organic crops or uncultivated land required around an apiary by the Soil Association standards is intended to ensure that the honey will contain the minimum possible amounts of residues of any prohibited agricultural inputs. For this purpose, some flexibility regarding the required area is provided on condition that evidence is given to prove the lack of such residues and of sources of prohibited inputs near the apiary.
Collection of wild plants - DE Bioland Standards 2005
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Wild grown plants collected for human consumption can be labelled with the BIOLAND trademark and the indicated as from wild collection, when; the area of collection has not been contaminated, is clearly defined, registered and (in general) situated in a region that is attended by BIOLAND, and the extraction of the plants does not negatively affect the local ecosystem. BIOLAND certified products from wild collection must be clearly labelled as such. (Bioland production standards, 3.10 Wild Collection)
The BIOLAND provisions are more specific and require the collection area to be free from the direct influence of any sources of pollution. BIOLAND labelling requirements are also more detailed than under EU Regulation 2092/91 where there is no specific provision for the labelling of organic products collected from wild collection. To ensure the innocuousness and high quality of BIOLAND products. To increase transparency for the consumer.
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.
Collection of wild plants - UK Soil Association Organic Standards 2005 Harvesting of wild plants for sale as organic must meet organic standards, comply with the law, not endanger species nor disturb habitat stability, not be on land recently contaminated with prohibited inputs, and must be sufficiently distant from sources of prohibited inputs or pollution. Soil Association Organic Standards. Paragraphs 9.1.4 - 9.1.11. Soil Association standards are more detailed than EU Regulation 2092/91. Soil Association standards require that wild harvesting of crops for sale as organic must comply with the organic standards and with the law, must not be of species defined as "critically endangered" in the World Conservation Union red list, and must be on land at least 10 metres from non organic agriculture and 50 metres from non agricultural pollution sources. The land should be accessible to inspection, and should be identified on maps with the organic certification application. EU Regulation does not have these requirements. The Soil Association standards on wild plant collection are intended to minimise the risk that the wild harvesting of plants may result either in contamination of organic products or damage to semi-natural habitats and endangered species. They seek to ensure that organic standards are fully effective for organic wild harvested products.
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.
Conversion of land, livestock production - UK Compendium 2005 As a derogation from the principle that all farmland and livestock enterprises must undergo the full conversion period, this may be reduced to 1 year for areas used for non-herbivorous livestock under certain conditions. These conditions are that the land in question has received no prohibited inputs for a year before the start of the conversion period and that authorisation is obtained from the inspection body. UK Compendium states that areas used for non-herbivorous livestock may have a reduced conversion period of 1 year only if they have received no prohibited inputs for at least 1 year before the start of the conversion period. EU Regulation 2092/91 allows a reduced conversion period of 1 year for any land used for non-herbivore livestock, and it allows this conversion period to be further reduced to 6 months if prohibited inputs have been absent for 1 year. UK Compendium aims to reduce the health risk to the consumer that might result from contamination of organic products with prohibited substances. This helps to verify the organic status of livestock products. It continues the historically more restrictive UK standards on organic livestock conversion periods. The amendment was requested by UK inspection bodies.
Conversion, livestock and animal products - UK Compendium 2005 During the conversion period, livestock, except poultry, reared for organic meat must be reared from birth as organic. If their offspring are to be used as organic meat animals, breeding ewes, female goats and sows must be managed as organic from mating. Breeding cattle must be managed as organic for at least 12 weeks before the birth of offspring to be reared for organic meat. There are other periods specified for other classes of livestock to be managed as organic if their products are to be sold as organic. UK Compendium specifies that, for offspring to be sold as organic meat, the breeding female must be in organic management after mating for small ruminants and pigs, for at least 12 weeks before birth for cattle, and all these offspring must be reared as organic from birth. EU Regulation 2092/91 requires that organic management must be for at least 12 months or three quarters of lifetime, whichever is longer, for bovines and equidae reared for meat, and six months for small ruminants and pigs. EU Regulation makes no mention here of the management of breeding females after mating. For milk production, UK Compendium requires that cattle must be in organic management for 9 months before the milk can be sold as organic, with organic feed management for at least 6 months. EU Regulation requires 6 months organic management for all milk producing animals. The UK Compendium livestock conversion rule aims to eliminate any possible consumer health risks that might arise from non-organic livestock management by ensuring that organic meat animals have been in organic management since birth, and even during their gestation. UK Compendium makes no mention of equidae because this is a class of livestock rarely used for food in UK. The amendment was requested by UK inspection bodies.
Conversion, preconditions - DE Naturland Standards 2005
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If land area is likely to be contaminated with harmful substances, soil analyses must be realised prior to conversion to determine the actual contamination. Additional demands can be made with regard the conversion of contaminated area. (NL standards on production: Part A.I. Conditions to be fulfilled prior to the conclusion of a producer contract. Part B.III.Market gardening, 1.2-1.3.)
The NATURLAND standard is more precise by requiring soil testing where contamination can be expected (i.e. in intensively farmed greenhouses). In the EU Regulation 2092/91 there is just the general information that authorities can prolong the conversion period taking into account the former use of an area. This is to avoid the contamination of the organic crop with substances that have been applied before the beginning of the organic management.
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.
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.
Livestock management, external responsibility, horses - DE Bioland Standards 2005
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Horses on the farm, that are not under the responsibility of the farm manager, can be fed or treated with substances that are not in line with the standards, as long as these are not contaminating the farm in any way. The horse manure should be handled as animal manure from external sources. (Bioland production standards, 4.5.6 Horse feeding)
The BIOLAND standard is more detailed. According to the EU Regulation 2092/91 conventional livestock from extensive husbandry can be kept on organic pastures for a limited period of time each year, without indicating details about the harmlessness of feed and treatment and the handling of manure. To avoid contamination with objectionable substances, i.e. GMO.
Peat, ornamental plants - DE Bioland Standards 2005
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The content of peat in substrates may not exceed 80% for seedlings and 50% for trees, herbaceous and ornamental plants. Exceptions are possible for crops, that require a low pH. Purchased composts, peat substitutes and additives must be examined with regard to their environmental compatibility and, in particular, to their pollutant content. (BIOLAND standards 5.8.6., 5.8 Ornamental Plants, Herbaceous Plants and Woody Plants, 5.8.6 Soils and Substrates)
The BIOLAND standard is slightly more detailed as the EU Regulation 2092/91, where the the use of peat in horticulture is not restricted. Purchased composts must not exceed the contents in heavy metals, laid down in the Annex II A. There is no requirement to examine the environmental compatibility of the components of substrate. To avoid the escessive exploitation of moor lands and to avoid contamination with harmful substances.
Veterinary treatment, withdrawral period - UK Compendium 2005 There must be a withdrawal period from the last administration of an allopathic veterinary medicine to the sale of organic livestock products from the same animal. This must be at least twice the normal, legal minimum withdrawal period, or 48 hours if the latter is unspecified. If the medicine is chemically synthesised, and if it is used in a different way to that specified in the Marketing Authorisation, there is one withdrawal period specified for eggs and milk, and another for meat. EU Regulation 2092/91 refers only to allopathic veterinary medicines and specifies twice the legal minimum withdrawal period. The UK Compendium additionally specifies minimum withdrawal periods for organic livestock products after the use of chemically synthesised allopathic veterinary medicines other than that specified in the Marketing Authorisation. The UK Compendium applies a more precautionary approach than EU Regulation, regarding product withdrawal periods after the use of chemically synthesised allopathic veterinary medicines, to avoid consumer health risks from exposure to chemical residues in organic products.