Organic Rules and Certification

All differences in one table by Subjects

  • Subject Areas
    • Conversion
      • Conversion planning
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Title Description Difference Justification and Comments
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.
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 period - DE Naturland 2005
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The conversion of a farm with all its farming units must be concluded at the latest five years after beginning the conversion period for the first of the units. (NL standards on production A.I.8.Approval)
The NATURLAND standard has additional requirements. There is no upward limit for the duration of the conversion period in the EU Regulation 2092/91. In order to make the whole farm conversion easier while considering the individual situation of a farm (i.e. economic viability, running contracts, crop rotation) it should not be necessary to convert the whole farm at once. However, as parallel production is not allowed, there must be a time limit in order to ensure the whole farm conversion and safeguard the integrity of the organic farm.
Conversion period, plant production - SI Rules 2003
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In SI Rules, the conversion period can be shortened under the condition that the operator of the agricultural holding can provide a guarantee that the production (unit) has already been subject to organic inspection system for a minimum of 1 year before (SI Rules 2003 Art. 12).
In principle the conversion period in plant production is regulated in the same way as in EU 2092/91, however it provides less possibilities for shortening the conversion period. No other possibility for shortening the conversion period as mentioned in the EU 2092/91 is foreseen. This relates to the situation in 1999 when the first state-approved organic inspection body started to operate. The provision allowed those farms that have been already participating in private organic inspection and certification schemes before 1999 to shorten the conversion period.
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, grassland and labelling - DE Naturland Standards 2005
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Grassland harvest can only be marketed with reference to NATURLAND, if it has been managed according the standards at least since 24 months before the beginning of the growing period. (NL standards on production Part A.I.9. Labelling and marketing).
The NATURLAND standard is more precise. The EU Regulation 2092/91 requires 24 months of full organic management before the harvest of organic grassland, without considering the growing period. The standard-setting body could not give a justification. A former version of the EU Regulation (2002) was determining for this provision. The NATURLAND provisions are being adapted to such changes in the EU Regulation.
Conversion, livestock and animal products - FR Regulation 2000
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When the first animal on the farm starts its conversion period, the farmer has 8 years to get all his animals certified organic (except for species which are not regulated by the French organic regulation).
French regulation requires that ultimately all animals on the farm be organic, whereas the EU Regulation 2092/91 accepts the presence of non organic livestock provided they are reared on units where the buildings and parcels are clearly separated from the organic units and different species are involved. Presence of organically and conventionally managed livestock on the same farm is not consistent (why let cows range freelly and not poultry, for example) and a source of potential fraud. But each farmer needs time to adapt his farm system and so eight years are given to satisfy this obligation.
Conversion, livestock and animal products - SI Rules 2003
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SI Rules (Art. 13) state that the conversion period for land used in livestock production can be reduced, in the case that only livestock production on the agricultural holding is being converted; to one year for pastures, open air runs and exercise areas used by non-herbivore species, and to six months when the land concerned has been in compliance with the provisions of these Rules for at least two years prior, and when all other facilities are also in compliance with the requirements of the Rules (Art. 19.). Organic agricultural products or organic foodstuffs of animal origin must originate from animals that have been reared on an organic agricultural holding in accordance with these Rules for at least two months in the case of calves, and two thirds of their lifetime in the case of fish.
SI Rules 2003 (Art. 19) foresee the reduction of the conversion period under the same conditions as EU Regulation 2092/91 Annex I B (2.1.2.), but limits this to the case where only livestock part of the production unit is being converted. It also specifies the length of organic rearing for selling the products as organic in the case of calves and fish, whereas EU Regulation does not. SI Rules also do not mention any derogations related to a transitional period until 31.12.2003 as the EU Regulation does in Annex I B (2.2.1. and 2.2.2.). Regarding transition periods: SI Rules were amended in 2003 so the transitional period 31.12.2003 was not an issue.
Conversion, microbial levels - NL SKAL Standards 2005
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When, in special occasions, the microbiological activity is at a very low level, caused by mechanical non-penetrable covering, organic farming can only start 6 months after appropriate management of the soil.
SKAL defines a norm for the time needed for microbiological activity to recover after covering, whereas the EU Regulation 2092/91 has not defined such a period. See EU rule text: "Annex I, part a) 1.2: However, the inspection authority or body may decide, in agreement with the competent authority, to recognise this retroactively as being part of the conversion period" Microbial activity is necessary for good organic farming systems.
Conversion, polluted soil - NL SKAL Standard 2005
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When the soil is chemically polluted, Skal will extend the period of conversion for as long as necessary to have no residues in the products.
Skal is more precise then the EU Regulation 2092/91 by defining when and how they will extend the period of conversion in cases of polluted soil. The EU rule Text ("Annex I, part a) 1.3) only mentions that the "the inspection authority or body may, with the approval of the competent authority, decide, in certain cases, to extend the conversion period beyond the period laid down in paragraph 1.1 having regard to previous parcel use." The risk of remaining residues in the soil from former use is seen as a justification to extend the conversion period.
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.
Full farm conversion - Demeter International 2005
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The conversion of the whole farm to the Biodynamic method in one step is required and shall be completed after a maximum of five years. Exemptions can be approved if the whole farm is managed organically and the conversion to biodynamic of individual areas following the crop rotation is justified (Appendix 7, APP 20 and 22). Parallel production is not allowed. Exemptions for perennial crops can be approved (Appendix 7, APP 21). A farm manager may not manage a Demeter farm and a conventional farm in the same district. (DI production standards, 7.1. Conversion and the production manager; DI production standards, Appemdix 7, APP 20, 21, 22)
The DI standard contains additional requirements. After 5 years of conversion, conventional units are no longer admitted on the farm. The whole farm should be converted in one step. The same person cannot manage one Demeter and another conventional farm at the same time. According to the EU Regulation 2092/91 separated conventional units and organic units can exist on the same farm. Conversion is a process of change encompassing the many developmental steps that the enterprise goes through on the way to a new state of equilibrium.
Full farm conversion - Italian Organic Standards 2005
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When the organic operator starts its conversion period, he has 3 years to have his whole farm certified. No parallel production is allowed after this period.
The EU Regulation 2092/91 accepts parallel production and mixed farms under certain restrictions. Parallel production is prohibited in order to avoid potential frauds and unintentional contaminations. However the gradual conversion of farm and productions within a three year conversion plan is allowed. The plan has to be accepted by the certification body.
Livestock housing, general requirements - Demeter International 2005
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Changes to the building construction which are necessary from an animal husbandry viewpoint (e.g. access to pasture, bays for rearing groups of calves, rebuilding of fully slatted floors etc.) are to be completed within a maximum five year conversion period. (DI production standards, 5.4. Management; DI production standards, Appendix 7, APP 6)
The DI standard is more precise by forcing adaptions for an appropriate animal housing within a five year timeframe. According to the EU Regulation 2092/91 inappropriate housing (in certain cases) can be tolerated with a derogation up to 31.12.2010. As there are only 5 years left until the end of 2010 the implementation of the rule will probably now be the same. Converting farmers must have time to adapt the given conditions of the farm to the requirements of the Demeter standards. However, in order to increase credibility of organic and biodynamic farming the necessary changes should be encouraged.
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.