Organic Rules and Certification

All differences in one table by Subjects

  • Subject Areas
    • Conversion
      • Parallel conversion
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Title Description Difference Justification and Comments
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, simultaneous conversion of livestock and land - UK Compendium 2005 A complete production unit, including livestock enterprises, may be simultaneously converted to organic status in 24 months. However, cattle reared for organic meat must have been born to cattle managed organically for at least 12 weeks before calving, other livestock for meat must be the offspring of organically managed female stock, and livestock for organic meat must be fed mostly on products of the unit. Fully organic livestock may be bought or sold from the unit, but their products may not be sold as organic until completion of the latest 24-month conversion period among production units where they have been present. The UK Compendium adds an additional subsection stating that fully organic livestock may be bought and sold from a converting livestock unit, but that their products may be sold as organic only after 24 months from the latest conversion start-date of the units where they have been present. UK Compendium specifies again here, as in Paragraph 2.2.1, that for offspring to be sold as organic meat after simultaneous conversion, 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 does not contain this specification. The UK Compendium rule ensures some flexibility in the purchase or sale of organic livestock for the in-conversion holding, without compromising the organic status of livestock products. This additional subsection is a qualification to the statement that the derogation applies only to existing animals. UK Compendium's rule repeats its conversion rule on how animals for meat may be sold as organic, to eliminate possible consumer health risks for organic consumers from non-organic livestock management.
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.
Full farm conversion - CH Bio Suisse Standards 2005
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BIO SUISSE requires organic certification of the whole farm with all the enterprises, including arable land, perennial crops and animal production.
BIO SUISSE standards contain an additional restriction not included in the EU Regulation 2092/91. BIO SUISSE standards do not allow non-organic and organic enterprises to be operated by the same manager with the exception of the stepped conversion of wine, fruit or ornamental plants production enterprises, whereas the EU Regulation does allow organic and non-organic enterprises on the same farm. The prohibition of organic and non-organic split production avoids potential problems with the consumer credibility of organic farming and minimises the danger of fraud. The BIO SUISSE standards in this respect comply with the Swiss government regulation.
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.
Parallel production, crops - CH Bio Suisse Standards 2005
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Parallel production of similar types of organic and non-organic products is permitted only for crops in farms undergoing a stepped conversion process, and not at all for livestock. Parallel production of crops is restricted to vines. In all other cases, parallel production is prohibited (cf. Paragraph 4.1.1. full farm conversion requirement).
BIO SUISSE standards contain an additional restriction not included in the EU Regulation 2092/91. BIO SUISSE standards restrict organic and non-organic parallel production only to perennial vine crops in the circumstances of a stepped conversion, but EU Regulation allows parallel production of similar varieties of perennial crops during a stepped conversion of a maximum five-year period, in research crops, or in crops producing propagation material; in each case, segregation must be guaranteed and inspection must be performed in the conventional production unit of the operation. The other exception allowed in EU Regulation is parallel production of grassland crops only for grazing. By not allowing split production, the situation on the farm is more transparent and easier for inspection: the credibility of organic farming is supported with these measures.
Parallel production, crops - CH Regulation/Ordinance 2005
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Parallel production of the same crops is only possible in farms undergoing a step by step conversion and only for the production areas of wine, perennial fruit and ornamental plants (full separation of audit trail must be granted and inspected).
According to the Swiss Ordinance only during a step-by-step conversion period, some exception for the parallel production in perennial fruit crops is possible in the operation. EU Regulation 2092/91 does at any time accept the parallel production of different varieties of the same crop (if clearly distinguishable), if segregation is granted and inspection is performed in the conventional production unit of the operation. By disallowing parallel production the farm situation is more transparent and inspection is easier. These measures support the credibility of organic farming.
Parallel production, crops - PRO BIO 2004 Parallel production of the same crops is only possible in farms with areas, newly integrated to the conversion period and only for the production areas of grasslands and perennial crops. Any parallel production of the same arable crop is prohibited. Parallel production in animal husbandry is not possible. According to PRO-BIO policy, only during the conversion period is there some exceptions for the possible parallel production of perennial crops and grassland. EU Regulation 2092/91 accepts the parallel production of different varieties of the same crop (if clearly distinguishable), if segregation is granted and inspection is performed in the conventional production unit of the operation. In order to maintain credibility of organic products parallel production is generally not allowed. The exception gives the possibility of inclusion of new areas to organic farming.