Organic Rules and Certification

All differences in one table by Subjects

  • Subject Areas
    • Conversion
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Title Description Difference Justification and Comments
Conversion of land, livestock production - CH Regulation/Ordinance 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 is possible)
The Swiss Ordinance requires a conversion period of 2 years for pastures, whereas EU Regulation 2092/91 permits a reduction of the conversion period for pastures down to 6 months for non-herbivore species if no disallowed substances have been applied to the respective plots. This rule is contributing to maintain consumer confidence.
Conversion of land, livestock production - Int. Codex Alimentarius Guidelines 2005
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The competent authority may reduce the conversion periods in the certain cases a) pasture, open-air runs and exercise areas used by non-herbivore species; b) for bovine, equine, ovine and caprine coming from extensive husbandry during an implementation period established by the competent authority or dairy herds converted for the first time; c) if there is simultaneous conversion of livestock and land used only for feeding within the same unit, the conversion period for both livestock, pasture and/or land used for animal feed, may be reduced to two years only in the case where the existing livestock and their offspring are fed mainly with products from the unit.
The rules for conversion are comparable with the EU Regulation 2092/91. Codex Alimentarius requires as well at least 2 years conversion period except for non-herbivores. For the latter, the competent authorities may decide upon the reduction of the conversion period, in the EU this iso one year for pasturages, open air runds and exercised areas, which can be reduced to 6 months, when the land concerned has not, in the recent past, received treatments with non-allowed products. Codex Alimentarius does not limit this to 6 months. The possibility for a certain regional flexibility on national level should be given.
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 of land, livestock production - UK Soil Association Organic Standards 2005 Production of organic pigs or poultry may be started on land in the second year of conversion if it has received no prohibited inputs for at least 2 years (i.e. for 1 year before the start of conversion). The livestock concerned must have been fed no genetically modified feed for 12 months before the start of conversion. Soil Association Organic Standards. Paragraphs 4.3.10, 13.1.2 and 20.2.2. Soil Association standards contain further restrictions to the EU Regulation 2092/91. Soil Association standards state that areas used for production of organic pigs and poultry, with Soil Association permission, during the second year of conversion must not have received prohibited inputs for at least 2 years, and no genetically modified feed must have been fed to the livestock during the same period. EU Regulation places no such restriction on previous inputs or feeds. It allows a 1-year conversion period for any land used for organic, non herbivorous livestock, and further allows the conversion period to be reduced to 6 months if prohibited inputs have been absent for 1 year. In this case, the Soil Association is complying with the requirements of the UK Compendium of Organic Standards, Annex 1B, Paragraph 2.1.2, except that UK Compendium does not include the prohibition regarding the previous feeding with genetically modified feeds. Soil Association standards' restriction on previous prohibited inputs is intended to reduce the perceivable health risk to the consumer that might result from contamination of organic livestock products with residues of prohibited inputs. In addition, the prohibition on previous genetically modified feeds is partly a precautionary measure to avoid the unpredictable consequences of unproven technology.
Conversion period - Int. IFOAM Standards 2005 IFOAM standards require in general a period of at least 36 months for conversion. Depending on the previous land use, the conversion period can be reduced to 12 months. EU Regulation 2092/91 states that the minimum conversion period must be between 2 and 3 years: Generally a period of at least two years before sowing is required, or in the case of grassland at least two years before being used as an organic feedstuff, or in the case of perennial crops (excluding grassland) at least three years before the first harvest. IFOAM states at least 12 months prior to the start of the production cycle and in the case of perennials (excluding pastures and meadows) a period of at least 18 months prior to harvest However, where certain conditions are met the EU can make the minimum time 12 months. So in this respect there is some equivalency between both sets of standards. No justification was given.
Conversion period, land for livestock production - Int. IFOAM Standards 2005
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IFOAM requires a conversion period of at least 12 months prior to pastures, meadows and products harvested therefrom being considered organic. Landless animal husbandry systems are prohibited. (5.1.)
IFOAM requires 12 months of conversion for pastures, whereas according to EU Regulation 2092/91 a reduction down to 6 months conversion period is possible for pastures and meadows. In the context that a converson period enables the establishment of an organic management system IFOAM requires the longer conversion period than EU for pastures.
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.
Conversion, application of biodynamic preparations - Demeter International 2005
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Manures and composts must be treated with the biodynamic preparations. A prerequisite for the certification of the farm as "In Conversion to demeter" (Biodyn) after 12 months of farming to these standards is at least one application of the spraying preparations (cow-horn manure and the horn silica), and the spreading of prepared manures on all areas of the enterprise. (DI production standards, 4. Biodynamic Preparations)
The DI standard has additional requirements than the EU Regulation 2092/91. There is no requirement about the preparation or application of the biodynamic preparations in the EU Regulation. It is stated however, that these preparations can be used for the activation of compost. The use of the biodynamic preparations in the manure and compost is an indispensable aspect of the biodynamic method.
Conversion, crop rotation - UK Soil Association Organic Standards 2005 Fields starting organic conversion, which have grown a nutrient exploiting crop in the previous two years, such as cereals in the previous 2 years, must start the conversion with a fertility building phase of the crop rotation. (Soil Association Organic Standards. Paragraph 4.2.5.) Soil Association standards are more detailed and have additional requirments than EU Regulation 2092/91. Soil Association Standards require that fields entering organic conversion, which have grown nutrient exploiting crops must start the first rotation of their organic conversion with a fertility building phase. EU Regulation does not contain this requirement, but only a requirement for a multi-annual rotation, including legumes green manures or deep-rooting plants, as the primary means to maintain or increase fertility. This Soil Association requirement enforces best agro-ecological practice at the start of organic conversion. It reduces any possibility that a producer might try to produce a nutrient exploiting crop by applying nutrient inputs to land with low nutrient levels entering conversion. Thus, this rule functions both as a guide for the producer and as a safeguard against poor practice in in-conversion crop production.
Conversion, inspection and monitoring - UK Soil Association Organic Standards 2005 The organic conversion period may be reduced by up to 4 months, with Soil Association permission, only if the producer provides full records to prove that prohibited inputs were not previously used on the land for at least the period of the reduction. Conversion may be further reduced by up to 12 months with Defra permission, only if the same full records are provided and even then only if the land was in a recognised agri-environment scheme that prohibited all of the same inputs for at least the period of the reduction. Soil Association Organic Standards. Paragraphs 4.3.7 and 4.3.8. Soil Association standards specify minimum periods as EU Regulation 2092/91 allows inspection bodies to do. Land must have been monitored by the Soil Association for at least 12 months before the crops may be sold as fully organic. EU Regulation does not include any minimum period for inspection body monitoring of land in conversion. EU Regulation allows the inspection body or authority to reduce the period of organic conversion if the land has been in an officially recognised agri-environment scheme that prohibits all the same inputs as those prohibited by organic standards or if the producer can prove to the inspection body that prohibited inputs have not been used for the period of reduction. Soil Association standards specify a limited reduction period of 4 months if the producer provides proof or 12 months if the land has been in an agri-environment scheme. The specified minimum period for inspection body monitoring of land in conversion is intended to avoid any consumer health problems that might result from the presence of prohibited input residues in organic products, and to ensure that farm system and environmental benefits of organic management will be effective when the land becomes fully organic.
Conversion, livestock and animal products - CH Bio Suisse Standards 2005 For brought-in livestock not coming from organic farm operations special conversion periods apply, if these animals or products thereof are sold as certified organic. BIO SUISSE standard is identical with EU Regulation 2092/91 except for the transition period for poultry for meat production. Whereas BIO SUISSE requires only 56 days for fattening poultry, EU requires that poultry is reared 10 weeks according the standard before being sold as organic. The deviation is due to the fact, that poultry becomes too heavy when reared longer than 56 days and then does not meet Swiss market demands for broilers .
Conversion, livestock and animal products - DE Bioland 2005
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Animals of conventional origin have to be kept in compliance with these standards during the respective conversion period, before animal products can be sold with reference to BIOLAND / organic farming. For the different types of animals specific minimum periods apply in addition to at least 12 months of conversion of the respective land area for feed production. An alternative is the combined conversion of feed production area and livestock, which will last at least 24 months. Cattle, that has been born on conventional farms and reared with feeding stuffs, that are not permitted, can never be sold using the BIOLAND trademark. (Bioland production standards, 9.2.4 Use of Trade Mark for Animal Products, 9.2.4.1 Product related Conversion; Bioland production standards, 9.2.4 Use of Trade Mark for Animal Products, 9.2.4.2 Simultaneous Conversion of the Total Business)
The BIOLAND provisions contain further requirements in the case of single type conversion, because they require the animal specific conversion period in addition to the first year of conversion for the feed production area. According to the EU Regulation 2092/91 the minimum conversion periods for the animals (which are the same in both regulations) can apply regardless of the conversion of the land, if the animals can be fed according to the regulation from the beginning of the conversion period. The use of the BIOLAND trademark is not regulated. In order to be able to feed the animals with at least 50% of home grown feed which is no longer conventional feed.
Conversion, livestock and animal products - DK Governmental Guidelines 2006
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Conversion of all animals shall be started within 4 years after the beginning of the conversion according to the Danish Governmental Guidelines on Organic Agricultural Production, October 2006, Section 2.1: Conversion to organic agricultural production. However, according to 'section 4.1.8 animals for own use within the limits of non-commercial animal production (see attached file) are allowed as long as there is no organic production of the same animal species on the farm. The number and type of animals must be rapported to the Plantdirectorate. The manure from the non-commercial animals is considered organic, when used on own farm.
According to the DK Governmental Guidelines on Agricultural Production, October 2006 it is generally required that all animals are converted and the conversion of them shall start within 4 years after the entering into conversion of the farm except for non-commercial animal production for own use. According to EU Regilation 2092/91 Annex IB, Article 1.6 rearing of conventional livestock may be allowed on an organic holding provided they are of a different species than the organic animals, and they are reared on units where the buildings and parcels are clearly separated from the buildings and parcels where the organic animals are reared. Organic farming is a land based activity with a holistic approach. It is not logic to convert one kind of animal production and not the other. Besides, the requirement reduces the risk of fraud. However, for non-commercial animal production where only few animals are kept for own use it may be reasonable to set less strict rules.
Conversion, livestock and animal products - IFOAM Basic Standards 2005
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5.2 Length of Conversion Period Where existing animals on a farm are converted to organic they should undergo a one-time minimum conversion period at least according to the following schedule: Production Conversion period · meat: 12 months · dairy: 90 days · eggs: 42 days
With the expeption that EU Regulation 2092/91 requires six months in the case of animals for milk production (and IFOAM only 90 days) , the timeframes for conversion periods for animal products are equivalent. No justification was available.
Conversion, livestock and animal products - SE KRAV 2006
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For certified products; meat, wool and hides the animals have to be raised according to the KRAV standards 2 months before the calculated birth of ruminants and 1 month for pigs. Animals present on the farm at conversion can be certified after 1 year. This also applies to conventional animals bought in later for breeding, milk or egg production (KRAV standards paragraph 5.1.5).
In EU 2092/91 conventional animals can be brought in to the operation and there is no requirement of organic management before birth. The conversion time is 12 months for beef, 6 months for sheep, goat and pigs for meat. For milk production it is 6 weeks, 10 weeks for poultry for meat and 6 weeks for egg-production. The overall goal is to only bring in organic animals but as this is not possible conversion times are needed. At initial conversion there are animals on the farm, to keep consumer trust and handle competition between farmers there is a need for strict conversion times.
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, livestock and animal products - UK Soil Association Organic Standards 2005
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There are a number of minimum conversion periods and detailed conditions regarding organic conversion of different classes of livestock: all mammalian livestock reared for organic meat must be managed as organic from birth; Permission for buying in non-organic chicks or pullets (with a plan detailing where organic young birds will be obtained in future). Soil Association standards additionally require that non-organic bought-in laying poultry must not have been caged nor had beak mutilations, and after 31st December 2005, they must have been reared to Soil Association veterinary and feed standards. In the following ways, the Soil Association complies with the standards set out in the UK Compendium of Organic Standards, Annex 1B, Paragraph 2.2.1. Soil Association rules specify that, for offspring to be sold as organic meat, the breeding female must be in organic management after mating for small ruminants and pigs, and for at least 12 weeks before birth for cattle. For milk production it is required 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. (Soil Association Organic Standards. Paragraphs 11.1.1, 11.1.2, 12.1.1-12.1.6, 13.1.3, 14.2.1-14.2.3, 20.3.1, 20.3.2, and 20.4.2-20.4.4.)
Soil Association standards mean all mammalian livestock reared for organic meat must be managed 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, and six months for small ruminants and pigs. Permission for buying in non-organic chicks or pullets is conditional whereas EU Regulation do not include such a condition. Furthermore EU Regulation make no mention of the management of breeding females. EU Regulation requires 6 months organic management for all milk-producing animals (and not 9 months as Soil Association). The Soil Association livestock conversion rules aim to eliminate any consumer health risks from non-organic management by ensuring that mammals reared for organic meat have been in organic management since birth, and even during their gestation. It is also an animal welfare issue. In order to prevent organic producers from providing a market for industry sectors in which birds are mistreated, the standards aim to ensure that the market demand for organic young birds will grow and thus support growth of the organic chick and pullet production sectors.
Conversion, simultaneous conversion, trading livestock - UK Soil Association Organic Standards 2005 Livestock complying with requirements of simultaneous conversion may be bought or sold by a farm in simultaneous conversion. They may be traded only once before finishing, except with special Soil Association permission, and their products may not be sold as organic until all buying and selling units have completed conversion. All relevant records and documentation must be kept at the farm, and transfer documents and trading schedules must be sent with traded livestock. Soil Association Organic Standards. Paragraph 10.5.6. Soil Association standards contain rules that are not specified in EU Regulation 2092/91. The Soil Association standards state that fully organic or in-conversion livestock may be traded from a livestock unit in simultaneous conversion, being bought or sold only once unless permission is sought, but that their products may be sold as organic only after the completion of conversion periods at all the units where they have been present. In this case, Soil Association standards comply with UK Compendium of Organic Standards, Annex 1B, Paragraph 2.3.1, except the Soil Association standards add the requirement for their permission to buy or sell an animal more than once on a unit in conversion. The EU Regulation on simultaneous conversion refers only to existing animals and does not include rules on the trading of livestock on holdings in simultaneous conversion. The Soil Association standards seek to allow flexibility for the producer, regarding the purchase or sale of livestock for the holding in simultaneous conversion, without compromising the genuine organic status of livestock products. The EU Regulation specification of existing animals could be interpreted to mean only animals already present on the holding, possibly implying that the derogation may not apply to brought-in animals that are already in-conversion or organic. The Soil Association's liberal interpretation of EU Regulation should be read in the context of the detailed UK rules on conversion periods for livestock.
Labelling claims, general requirements - Demeter International 2005
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Products can be labelled as "in conversion to Demeter" or Biodyn to the earliest after 12 months in conversion to the biodynamic method of the respective farm unit. This is only possible if the whole enterprise is under conversion. Crops harvested more than 36 months (perennial crops), or sown more than 24 months after the start of conversion can be marketed as Demeter once certification is granted. In the following cases the periods can be shortened: If an enterprise can be shown to have been managed extensively, after the second conversion year, full Demeter certification is possible. If an enterprise or part thereof is certified organic for a minimum of three years full Demeter certification can be given for the first harvest, provided that the Biodynamic preparations have been applied according to the standards. (DI production standards, 7.3. Demeter certification and use of the trademark)
Demeter labelling is not regulated by the EU Regulation 2092/91. Whereas the general conversion time for annual and perennial crops are similar to the EU regulation, additional requirements have to be fulfiled to get the Demeter certification such as the use of the bio-dynamic preparations etc. To ensure good consumer information.
Parallel production, GMOs - DE Naturland 2005
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The use of GMO and/or derivates is prohibited. This applies immediately to the whole farm, regardless of the certification status of single farm units. Accidental contamination with GMO of organic produce can lead to decertification. (NL standards on production, Part A.II.6. Non-employment of GMO and GMO derivatives)
The NATURLAND standard contains further restrictions to the EU Regulation 2092/91. The EU Regulation allows organic and conventional production at the same time in two separated production units of the same farm. The use of GMO in conventional unit is not prohibited by EU Regulation. NATURLAND standards prohibit GMO use on the whole farm. To avoid contamination with objectionable substances, ensure the organic integrity of Naturland products. Genetically modified organisms (GMO) and their derivates are incompatible with organic cultivation.