Organic Rules and Certification

All differences in one table by Subjects

  • Subject Areas
    • Conversion
      • Conversion definitions
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Title Description Difference Justification and Comments
Conversion of land, livestock production - CH Demeter Standards 2005
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A conversion period of 4 years is required; crops may be sold with 'DEMETER' denomination in the fourth year of conformity with DEMETER standards. As soon as all plots with fodder production have completed the conversion period, also animal husbandry is considered as DEMETER. No retrospective approval is granted (no reduction of the conversion period is possible). In case of a certified production according Bio Suisse Standards, DEMETER approval may occur in the second year of conformity with DEMETER Standards.
DEMETER requires a minimal conversion period of 4 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. Essential agricultural knowledge and skills in the biodynamic mehod are important prerequisitites for successfull farming. To acquire this knowledge and to gain credibility in the consumers eyes, DEMETER strictly defines the beginning of conversion as starting with the first inspection and requires a four year conversion period.
Conversion period - CH Regulation/Ordinance 2005
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The conversion period lasts 2 years, starting on January 1st. The Swiss Ordinance 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, Swiss farms are allowed to market their produce with the claim 'in conversion to organic farming'
The Swiss Ordinance accepts a shorter conversion period for perennial crops than the EU Regulation 2092/91, which applies a zero year which leads to a total of 36 months in perennials and 24 months in annual crops. For reasons of credibility in the consumers eyes, the Swiss Ordinance strictly defines the beginning of conversion starting with the first year of inspection on the spot.
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, 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.
Conversion period, start date - NL Skal Standards 2005
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The conversion period starts at the date set by SKAL. This date will be the day that the contribution to SKAL is paid by the producer / farmer.
SKAL sets the start date by financial contribution to SKAL, whereas the EU Regulation 2092/91 says it has to be 2 years before sowing. See Rule Text: "Annex I, part a) 1.1: The principles laid down in Article 6(1)(a), (b) and (d) and set out in particular in this Annex must normally have been applied on the parcels during a conversion period of at least two years before sowing, or, in the case of grassland, at least two years before its exploitation as feeding stuff from organic farming, or, in the case of perennial crops other than grassland, at least three years before the first harvest of products as referred to in Article 1(1)(a)." A certain starting point has to be given.
Conversion, general requirements - 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: (a) Have been managed in accordance with the provisions of §§ 205.203 through 205.206 (b) Have had no prohibited substances, as listed in § 205.105, applied to it for a period of 3 years immediately preceding harvest of the crop (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. US requires 3 years with no prohibited materials prior to harvest, but does not require full implementation of organic practices during the entire conversion period. EU Regulation 2092/91 requires 2 years of organic management prior to sowing or 3 years before the first harvest in case of perennials. The EU requires inspection during the conversion period, whereas the US does not. The EU defines the beginning of the conversion period, for the US this is not relevant subsequently; there is no retroactive approval for the conversion period in the US. The Act does not require that land be under active organic management during the period prior certification and USDA do not believe such a requirement in these regulations is necessary. Such a requirement, for example, would necessitate some process for verifying that an operation is under active organic management, which would, in effect, require a certification-type decision a year before certification is granted and the operation can begin to label products as certified organic.
Labelling of animal products, milk - Demeter International 2005
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The labelling of milk is determined by the certification status of the feed: Milk may only be marketed under the label "In Conversion to Demeter" if the dairy cows are fed from areas of the farm, which have this certification level. Demeter certification of the milk is possible as soon as the feed comes from Demeter certified areas. (DI production standards, 5.7.1. Milk, dairy cows and calves; DI production standards, 5.5.1. Brought in feeds and in conversion feeds)
The DI standard is more complex. The EU Regulation 2092/91 does not regulate Demeter specific labelling. The label "In conversion to Demeter" is only given to products, that have full organic certification status already. There is no possibility for animal products to be labelled as in conversion according to the EU Regulation. The quality of the feed influences the quality of the animal product.