Organic Rules and Certification

All differences in one table by Subjects

  • Subject Areas
    • Crop production
      • Seed production /Seedlings
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Title Description Difference Justification and Comments
Crop varieties - DE Bioland 2005
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Species and varieties for BIOLAND plant production should be of high nutritional quality, resistant to diseases and adapted to the location. For agricultural production, typical local varieties have preference to hybrid varieties (applicable for arable cropping only). (Bioland production standards, 3.6 Seeds, Seedlings and Plant Materials, 3.6.1 Basic Principles)
The BIOLAND standard is more detailed compared to the EU Regulation 2092/91. The EU Regulation only requires the choice of appropriate species and varieties to control diseases, pests and weed pressure. 'Appropriate' is not further specified and preferation of non-hybrid types is not mentioned. In order to enable the farms own self-supply with seeds and the development of locally adapted types of seeds (arable cropping).
Peat, ornamental plants - DE Bioland Standards 2005
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The content of peat in substrates may not exceed 80% for seedlings and 50% for trees, herbaceous and ornamental plants. Exceptions are possible for crops, that require a low pH. Purchased composts, peat substitutes and additives must be examined with regard to their environmental compatibility and, in particular, to their pollutant content. (BIOLAND standards 5.8.6., 5.8 Ornamental Plants, Herbaceous Plants and Woody Plants, 5.8.6 Soils and Substrates)
The BIOLAND standard is slightly more detailed as the EU Regulation 2092/91, where the the use of peat in horticulture is not restricted. Purchased composts must not exceed the contents in heavy metals, laid down in the Annex II A. There is no requirement to examine the environmental compatibility of the components of substrate. To avoid the escessive exploitation of moor lands and to avoid contamination with harmful substances.
Peat, seedling production - AT Bio Austria General Standard 2006
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Peat is only allowed for the production of seedlings and can only constitute 70 % of the substratum. Peat must not be used as an organic soil supplement. (BA-Rules 2006 chapter 2.1.5, 4.1.5.1 (4.5.1: mushrooms)
The Bio Austria General Standard is more detailed than the EU Regulation 2092/91 as it allows the use of peat only for the production of seedlings and limits the proportion to 70 %. Annex II A of the EU Regulation 2092/91 allows the use of peat only to horticulture but does not give more restrictions. Peat is a limited natural resource. Restriction of its use is in line with the approach of sustainability and the protection of natural resources. Reasons: nature conservation.
Plant material and bulbs, origin - CH Demeter Standards
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Seedlings and bulbs must origin from bio-dynamic and if not available from organic production. The non availability of bio-dynamic seed or seedlings must be documented. Planting material deriving from lines which were created with protoplasm or cytoplasm fusion technique can not be used.
Similar regulation as EU Regulation 2092/91 but cytoplasm and protoplasm fusion as breeding techniques in the propagation procedure are not accepted. Seed should be well adapted to the production technique and therefore it should already be bred with bio-dynamic methods in order to support the taste and individuality of each variety.
Plant material, origin, ornamental plants - DE Naturland 2005
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Seedlings have to be from own production or purchased from NATURLAND certified farms or equivalent. In case of proven non-availability they can be purchased from conventional sources. If the seedlings were vegetatively generated, the plants can be offered as a NATURLAND in conversion product. If the seedling was generatively obtained, the plant can be offered as a NATURLAND in conversion product after one year at the earliest. In both cases the plants can be fully certified NATURLAND products after two years. (NL standards on production, Part B.V. Cultivation of ornamental plants, herbaceous perennials, shrubs, Christmas trees, 3. Seedlings)
The NATURLAND standard is more detailed. There are no specific provisions for the production of ornamental plants in the EU Regulation 2092/91, consequently the general provisions for the use of plant propagation material apply. In case of unavailability of organic material and after approval untreated plant propagation material from conventional origin can be used and the plants can be sold as organic without any further conversion period. In order to ensure NATURLAND quality throughout the whole production chain, seedlings from NATURLAND farms should be used. Considering, however, the low stage of market development this is unlikely to be possible and there must be a possibility to use conventional material.
Plant processing inputs, hops - DE Bioland 2005
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The use of sulphur for conservation is prohibited in drying and processing. (Bioland production standards, 5.7 Hop Cultivation, 5.7.5 Preparation)
The BIOLAND standard is more detailed. The EU Regulation 2092/91 does not specifically regulate the drying and processing of hops. Sulphur for drying hops is explicitely excluded. The standard setting body did not give a justification.
Plant production, breeding techniques - Demeter International 2005
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No hybrids of cereals with the exception of corn (Zea Mays) can be used for the production of food and feed crops. No breeding techniques such as protoplasm and cytoplasm fusion or genetic modification may have been applied in the production of the plant propagation material to be used. (DI production standards, 3.1. Seed and propagation material)
The DI standard is more restrictive by prohibiting plant propagation material produced with breeding techniques based on genetic modification, protoplasm and cytoplasm fusion and hybridisation. The EU Regulation 2092/91 only excludes the use of genetically modified plant propagation material, but it does not refer to other breeding techniques. Hybrids in general have a lower quality concerning nutritional aspects. The breeding technique as well is in opposition to the understanding of biodynamic farming. For more details visit www.forschungsring.de.
Seed and plant material, origin - CH Demeter Standards 2005
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Seed must origin from bio-dynamic and if not available from organic production. The non-availability of organic seed must be proven by the farmer. Hybrids of cereals with the exception of corn (Zea mays) are excluded for the production of feed and food. Planting material deriving from lines which were created with protoplasm or cytoplasm fusion technique can not be used. Seed should be procured from European countries (less transport, less pollution).
EU Regulation 2092/91 does allow hybrids, whereas DEMETER does not allow the use of hybrids in any cereal (with the exception of corn). Furthermore, cytoplasm and protoplasm fusion as breeding techniques are not accepted by DEMETER standards. Seed should be well adapted to the production technique and therefore it should already be bred with bio-dynamic methods in order to support the taste and individuality of each variety. Therefore biodynamic seed and propagation material must be used if available.
Seed and plant material, origin - CH Regulation/Ordinance 2005
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Seeds, plants and plant propagating material must come from organic holdings. Only if non availability is proven can non-organic sources be used. Government requires to establish a list of available organic seed in a database (OrganicXsees-database provided by FIBL).
Swiss Ordinance requires evidence that seed was ordered by the user in good time. EU Regulation 2092/91 has similar rules for seed source, but does not require evidence of the ordering timescale. In order to enhance the efforts for organic seed production, also farmers are forced to actively search sources of organic seed.
Seed and plant material, origin - DE Bioland 2005
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Organic plant propagation material must be used if available. For perennial crops vegetative propagation material from BIOLAND certified origin must be preferred. In case of unavailability and with the approval of BIOLAND, plant propagation material of conventional origin can be used. Conventional seedlings for perennials must pass the conversion period in a separated place before being sold with reference to BIOLAND. After August 2006 only organic plant propagation material shall be used. (Bioland production standards, 3.6.2 Organically Produced Seeds and Plant Materials; Bioland production standards, 3.6.5 Young Plants for Perennial Crops; Bioland production standards, 5.8.4 Seedlings)
The Bioland standard is similar but slightly more restrictive in the requirement to use Bioland material with preference and in expressing the intention not to use conventional material after 2006. According to the EU Regulation 2092/91 conventional seeds can be used after approval if no variety of the requested quality is available in a country, according to the national data base. The handling of BIOLAND certified material is not regulated. To ensure organic quality throughout the whole production chain and in order to stimulate the development of the organic seed production sector. The date is derived from the date of revision of the EU seeds regulation. A complete prohibition of conventional seeds after 2006 however is unlikely.
Seed and plant material, origin - Demeter International 2005
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Seeds and vegetative propagation material must originate from biodynamic agriculture if available. Open pollinated varieties of biodynamic origin should be preferred. For vegetable production and potatoes propagation material from organic origin can be used, if biodynamic material is not available. If organic sources are not available, untreated material of conventional origin (excluding young plants/seedlings) may be used after approval by the respective organisation. Unavailability must be documented. (DI production standards, 3.1 Seed and propagation material; DI production standards, Appendix 7, APP 1)
The DI standard is more detailed in the aspect to require prefence of open pollinated varieties and plant propagation material from biodynamic sources. In case of unavailability and after approval conventional material can be used. The EU Regulation does not refer to open pollinated varieties and does not regulate biodynamic quality. The use of conventional seeds or vegetative plant propagation material can be approved if the desired crop and variety is not available in organic quality according to the national data base for organic seeds. The aim is to grow plants of the best nutritional quality and to ensure biodynamic quality throughout the whole production chain. Hybrids are considered to have a lower quality concerning nutritional aspects. Hybridisation as breeding technique is in opposition to the understanding of adequate biodynamic methods. For more details visit www.forschungsring.de.
Seed and plant material, origin - Int. Codex Alimentarius Guidelines 2005
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Seeds and vegetative reproductive material should be from plants grown in accordance with the provisions of Section 4.1 of these guidelines for at least one generation or, in the case of perennial crops, two growing seasons.
Codex Alimentarius Guidelines rules the use of organic seeds comparable with the EU Regulation 2092/91 but allows when not untreated seeds are available treated seed with substances not listed in the Annex 2. In addition the EU Regulation requires member countries to have a data base on the availability of organic seed. In many countries outside the EU it is not always possible to get untreated seed.
Seed and plant material, origin - Int. IFOAM Standards 2005
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Organic seed and plant material should be used. In case of non availability, non organic seed is admittable (4.1.1. and 4.1.2).
EU Regulation 2092/91 rules the use of organic seeds similar as IFOAM. However if no organic seed is available as well untreated conventional seed and plant material, chemically treated seend and plant material may be used. The EU Regulation does not allow conventionally treated seed anymore. Furthermore the EU Regulation requires member countries to have a data base to document the availability of organic seed. In some countries it is not possible yet to get untreated seed for some species. However derogations must be limited in time and monitored by the certification body.
Seed and plant material, origin - US NOP 2002
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The producer must use organically grown seeds, annual seedlings, and planting stock: Exceptions: In case equivalent organically produced varieties are not commercially available the following is allowed: (1) Non-organically produced, untreated seeds and planting stock; (2) Non-organically produced seeds and planting stock that have been treated with a substance included on the "National list of synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production". (3) Non-organically produced annual seedlings may be used when a temporary variance has been granted; (4) Non-organically produced planting stock to be used to produce a perennial crop only after the planting stock has been maintained under a system of organic management for a period of no less than 1 year; and (5) Products treated with prohibited substances may be used when the application of the materials is a requirement of Federal or State phytosanitary regulations. Organically produced seed must be used for the production of edible sprouts.
The EU Regulation 2092/91 requires the EU Member States to set up a database on the availability of seed varieties and seedlings. The US does not have an equivalent database. The EU specifies in Regulation (EG) 1452/2003 the conditions for authorizations for use of conventional seeds. The US does not. The EU aims at publishing a list of seeds and propagation material where no authorizations may be granted. The US does not mention this. EU does not allow using conventional seedlings. US do when a temporary variance has been granted. US specifically require organic seeds for edible sprouts; EU does not. US allows treatment of propagation materials with prohibited substances when mandated by phytosanitary regulations. EU does not contain such a provision. There was no official justification provided by USDA.
Seed and plant material, origin, peat - CH Bio Suisse 2005
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Seedlings must be certified organic. If non available this has to be proven. Any use of treated seedlings leads to disapproval of the crop emerging from it. Peat can constitute only 70% of the substratum for the production of seedlings.
Similar regulation for seedling as for seed as the EU Regulation 2092/91, however there is no restriction in the use of peat in the substratum in the EU Regulation. Vegetative propagation material is considered organic if it derives from mother plants grown organically for at least one generation or, in the case of perennial crops, two growing seasons. BIO SUISSE and EU rules define these periods for mother plants identically. Peat is a very limited natural resource for many areas of the world. Restriction of it's use is in line with the approach of sustainability in organic farming. No peat is admitted as general soil conditioner.