Organic Rules and Certification

All differences in one table by Subjects

  • Subject Areas
    • Pollution risks/non permitted inputs
      • Protection against contamination
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Title Description Difference Justification and Comments
Aquaculture, wild-harvest - Int. IFOAM Standards 2005
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Operators should take measures to ensure that wild, sedentary aquatic species are collected only from areas where the water is not contaminated by substances prohibited in these standards.(2.4.5)
IFOAM specifies necessary measures for collecting wild aquatic species whereas EU Regulation 2092/91 does not cover this. Products from wild harvest are expected to be free of residues or contaminants; this is a consumers expectation of organic food.
Beekeeping, siting of apiaries - DE Bioland 2005
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The siting of the apiaries must ensure that considerable contamination with objectionable substances is not to be expected. In case of suspicion, the bee products must be analysed and consequences must be taken. The colonies may not be placed on a conventionally farmed field. Specific approval by BIOLAND is required if colonies shall be placed outside the area, controlled by BIOLAND (Germany, South Tyrol). For harvesting honey from agricultural crops, organically cultivated crops are to be preferred. Nectar and pollen must not be intentionally collected from intensively managed conventional orchards. Pollen cannot be harvested from crops that have been treated with agrochemicals while flowering. Bee products harvested from areas, that have been declared as unsuitable for organic apiculture cannot be marketed with reference to the organic production method. (Bioland production standards, 4.10.2 Keeping of the Bees, 4.10.2.1 Location of the Bee Colonies)
The BIOLAND standard is similar to the corresponding EU Regulation 2092/91. It is more precise in excluding the use of certain conventionally farmed crops for the collection of pollen and nectar (intensively farmed orchards and crops, that have been sprayed while flowering). To avoid contamination of bee products with objectionable substances, but at the same time enabling organic apiculture in Germany.
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.
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.
Cleaning, disinfection and pest control - SE KRAV 2006
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KRAV has a whole range of standards for handling cleaning, disinfection and pest control in all areas were organic products are produced, handled, processed and stored. The operators shall first of all work with precautionary measures and also do a risk assessment to foresee and prevent problems. The operator shall carry out sanitary and building measures to minimise potential problems. Cleaning of facilities is stressed. For chemical products used which may be of possible danger to human health or environment the products less harmful shall be used (this is a Swedish legal requirement). For disinfection and pest control in storages, handling and processing facilities, mechanical methods shall be preferred. If these are not effective physical methods can be used, after that biotechnical methods can be used and as the last option chemical methods can be used when the other methods are considered impossible. Organic products should not be contaminated by the disinfection or pest control methods and all activities have to be documented. (KRAV Standards paragraph 2.12.9 - 2.12.11).
Cleaning, disinfection and pest control is covered in the EU Regulation 2092/91 to the extent of reducing the risk for contamination of organic products but the more thorough stepwise approach of working with precautionary measures and risk assessment is not covered. The step by step system avoiding the use of chemicals for disinfection and pest control is also not covered. Cleaning, disinfection and pest control are areas were it is a risk for contamination of organic products by the substances used. Through a good management system the use of problems can be reduced considerably. The substances used for fumigations and other pest control efforts are often toxic and have other environmental effects.
Collection of wild plants, buffer zones - SE KRAV 2006
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The KRAV standards for wild collection requires 25 metre buffer zones to roads (if there is more then 3000 vehicles per day), and to land which has been treated with chemical fertilisers or pesticides. The standards also set a maximum limit for caesium levels in land from which berries and mushrooms are collected (KRAV standards paragraph 8.1.6).
Contamination risks in wild collection are not covered in EU Regulation 2092/91. It is important for consumers trust in organic products that there are as little contaminants as possible. Sweden has problems with contamination of caesium after the Chernobyl accident.
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, 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, 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.
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 § 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, reducing, processing units - Italian Organic Standards 2005
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The Italian Organic Standards (IOS) for handling, processing, packaging and marketing of agri-food products define specific general requirements for the operators to follow. Particular attention is dedicated to avoiding cross-contamination between organic and conventional productions within the same processing unit.
The Italian Organic Standards (IOS) for handling, processing, packaging and marketing of agri-food products define specific general requirements for the operators to follow. EU Regulation 2092/91 has more general requirements for processing and packaging of organic products. Unlike crop and livestock production, mixed processing firms can be certified by the inspection body. Therefore it is important to put in place all possible measures to avoid cross-contamination between organic and conventional productions within the same processing unit.
Contamination, reducing, storage and transport - NL Skal Standards 2005
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All contact with forbidden products should be avoided. This means that it is not allowed to store or transport the organic product in storage places or trucks where products are being used / have been used that are not mentioned in annex VI part A.
SKAL interprets the rule in a way that all prevention methods should be taken to avoid any risk of contamination, whereas the EU Regulation 2092/91 does not mention possible prevention methods. See EU Rule Text: Article 5 part 3 c), d) and part 5 d), e): The product contains no other products of non-agricultural origin, as mentioned in annex VI, part a" It seems easier to inspect the methods of storage and transport, than the contamination itself. Also because the contamination check can be too late (the product may be contaminated already).
Fertilizers, origin - UK Soil Association Organic Standards 2005
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Soil Association permission is required to use non-organic animal manure or plant waste, which must be used only as a complement to the soil fertility management. Permission will be granted only if information is provided about the material and why it is needed. The types of non-organic agricultural and food by-products that may be used are subject to detailed, specified restrictions, regarding the stocking densities and husbandry systems, as well as the stacking or composting of the material. These include straw, farmyard manure, stable manure, poultry manure (from certain production systems with specified maximum stocking densities for each), straw-based pig manure, food processing by-products, plant wastes and by-products, as well as non-organic slurry, mushroom composts and worm composts from the systems specified. Dirty water from non-organic systems may be applied to in-conversion land. In addition, the Soil Association standards specify that non-organic slurry must have been aerated, pig and poultry manure must have been properly composted, stacked for 12 months, or stacked for 6 months and turned twice, and other non-organic livestock manure and plant waste must have been stacked for half the above-mentioned times or properly composted. Soil Association may request a soil or manure analysis to check the heavy metal levels. (Soil Association Organic Standards. Paragraphs 4.7.5-4.7.7 and 4.7.17.)
Soil Association standards specify that only certain types of manure and plant wastes from non-organic production or processing systems may be permitted to complement soil fertility management. EU Regulation 2092/91 specifies "need recognised by the inspection body". The Soil Association standards aim to avoid providing an organic farming demand for manure products of livestock systems where the animal welfare is compromised by lack of bedding, or by excessive stocking densities or movement restrictions. Soil Association standards try to avoid potential organic consumer health problems by requiring composting or stacking time for the degradation of residues of prohibited inputs or veterinary medicines before application of non-organic manure and plant wastes to organic crops. Consumer health and long-term soil fertility concerns are the reasons why analysis may be required for heavy metal levels.
Land management, mulches and plastic - SE KRAV 2006
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Floating mulches, plastic for covering soil and plants and silage plastic should not be made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Used materials should be taken away from the land or place it has been used (KRAV standards paragraph 4.7.5).
This is not regulated in EU Regulation 2092/91. PVC has huge environmental effects and all use should be reduced to a minimum. Plastic and mulches should be handled so that they do not cause environmental problems and are not polluting the farm or soil.
Origin of livestock, replacements - UK Compendium 2005 In a derogation from the rule that all livestock must have been organically managed throughout their lives, where appropriate organic livestock are unavailable, a limited proportion of non-organic animals may, with inspection body authorisation, be bought-in for herd/flock growth or renewal. The products of these animals must be subject to the rules for organic conversion with some stated modifications. UK Compendium Standards contain further restrictions on replacement stock compared to EU Regulation 2092/91. EU Regulation allows 20% per year of the existing herd number of pigs, sheep and goats to be brought in as adult, non-organic livestock for conversion, where organic animals are unavailable. UK Compendium allows only a 10% per year figure for all livestock, except the 20% per year permitted for sheep. Before their products may be sold as organic, UK Compendium requires such animals to remain in organic management for a full period of conversion as specified in UK Compendium, Paragraph 2.2.1. (see UK Compendium Difference "Conversion of livestock - organic status of livestock products"), with a slight modification for milk from dairy animals. In UK Compendium, the increased regulation of the purchase of non-organic pigs and goats helps to maintain herd or flock biosecurity. The cross reference to the rules in UK Compendium, Paragraph 2.2.1. 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.
Packaging material, recycled - SE KRAV 2006
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KRAV certified products can only be stored in recycled packages and wrappings which have been used for conventional products if it is well cleaned. There should be no risk of any contamination. (KRAV standards paragraph 2.12.7 and 2.12.8).
In EU Regulation 2092/91 there are general statements about contamination of organic products but nothing specific on packaging material. In practise there are a lot of containers and packaging material which have been used for conventional products which are then used in organic production. The recycling of packaging materials fits well with the principles of organic agriculture relating to resource use, but there is also a risk for contamination which has to be handled.
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.
Plant protection, copper - CZ PRO-BIO 2004 Total dosage of copper is maximum 3 kg Cu (2+)/ha/year (metallic copper). If copper preparations are used, the copper soil content has to be analysed each 6th year. Copper application is restricted to lower quantities, and if applied the soil copper content has to be determined. EU Regulation 2092/91 Annex II/B IV admits 8 kg/ha of copper (till the end of 2005 and max 6 kg/ha of copper from 2006 onwards (with special rules for perennial crops). Copper is being accumulated in the soil: in order to promote soil fertility; any accumulation of heavy metals should be avoided - therefore copper applications are restricted. Standards require the use of preventive measures (crop rotation, crop cultivation, choice of varieties) too.
Processing inputs, packaging - SE KRAV 2006
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Substances that come in contact with food like cheese wax should not be treated with preservatives (such as anti-fungal agents), pest control substances, and synthetic or natural colouring agents (KRAV standards paragraph 9.2.3).
In EU Regulation 2092/91 there are general statements about contamination of organic products but nothing specific on preservatives in substances used in close contact with food like cheese wax. This area is probably intended to be covered by EU Regulation 2092/91 but it is not clearly stated. It is important to as clearly as possible state what is allowed or not.
Textiles, fibre - Int. IFOAM Standards 2005
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Minimal requirements for fibre processing are stated in the IFOAM standards such as: Operators should avoid the use of non-biodegradable, bio-accumulating input products and heavy metals. (6.7.)
EU Regulation 2092/91 does not cover the area of fiber processing.
Veterinary treatent, parasite control - UK Compendium 2005 Growth promoting substances, or hormones to promote growth or affect reproduction, may not be used, but hormones may be used for the therapeutic veterinary treatment of an individual animal. Veterinary treatments that are compulsory under national or EU law are not prohibited. Livestock may not be treated with organophosphate chemicals. However, f they must be treated with organophosphates by law, then they must be permanently marked, their meat may not be sold as organic, and their other products may be sold as organic only after a full conversion period. UK Compendium contains an additional subsection, which places a prohibition on the use of organophosphate (OP) treatments, If OP treatments must be used by law, then the meat from the treated animal may not be sold as organic, and its other products may be sold as organic only with inspection body agreement and after a full conversion period. EU Regulation 2092/91 does not mention OP treatments. Otherwise, UK Compendium standards on growth promoters and hormones are identical to the EU Regulation. A specific prohibition on organic status for animals exposed to organophosphate chemicals is considered necessary to ensure that organic products will not pose any public health risk. Organophosphate chemicals have been suspected of involvement in a number of degenerative nervous diseases in both livestock and people, and these problems have been well publicised in UK. The additional text in UK Compendium continues a prohibition on organophosphate treatments in UK organic standards, which pre-dates the EU Regulation.