Organic Rules and Certification

All differences in one table by Subjects

  • Subject Areas
    • Conversion
      • Retrospective approval
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Title Description Difference Justification and Comments
Conversion of land, livestock production - 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 is possible)
BIO SUISSE 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 contributes to consumer confidence and makes inspection easier.
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, plant production - NL Skal Standards 2005
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SKAL has defined precisely the possibility to reduce the conversion period to only six months before cultivation starts. The owner of the land should officially approve that the soil is managed according to the EU Regulation on organic farming.
SKAL is only implementing the possibility of a derogation of the EU Regulation 2092/91, but does not make it more restrictive. The EU rule which is referred to is in Annex II, part B, 2.1.2: "By derogation from this principle, the conversion period may be reduced to one year for pastures, open air runs and exercise areas used by non-herbivore species. This period may be reduced to six months where the land concerned has not, in the recent past, received treatments with products other than those referred to in Annex II of this Regulation. This derogation must be authorised by the inspection authority or body." As the derogation must be authorised on national level, in this case by SKAL.
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.
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, retroactive approval - 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).
Whereas BIO SUISSE requires a two years conversion period beginning in the first year of inspection by an official inspection body, EU Regulation 2092/91 offers the possibility for retrospective approval in cases, where previous management methods are proved to be in compliance with the Regulation (approval as 'organic' after 6 months of first inspection for pastures or immediate approval for other plots if last conventional practice happened more than 3 years ago). The inflexibility in the conversion period is thought to increase consumer credibility. The Bio Suisse standards in this case comply with the Swiss government regulation.
Conversion, retroactive approval - CH Regulation/Ordinance 2005
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The conversion period lasts 2 years, starting on the first of January.
With the exception for sprouts and mushroom production the Swiss Ordinance does not allow a shortening of the conversion period: While the EU Regulation 2092/91 offers the possibility for retrospective approval in cases, where previous management methods are proved to be in compliance with the Regulation (approval as 'organic' after 6 months of first inspection for pastures or immediate approval for other plots if last conventional measure happened more than 3 years ago). 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.