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Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007Show full title

Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 of 28 June 2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91

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U.K.

Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007

of 28 June 2007

on organic production and labelling of organic products and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91

THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in particular Article 37 thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the Commission,

Having regard to the opinion of the European Parliament(1),

Whereas:

(1) Organic production is an overall system of farm management and food production that combines best environmental practices, a high level of biodiversity, the preservation of natural resources, the application of high animal welfare standards and a production method in line with the preference of certain consumers for products produced using natural substances and processes. The organic production method thus plays a dual societal role, where it on the one hand provides for a specific market responding to a consumer demand for organic products, and on the other hand delivers public goods contributing to the protection of the environment and animal welfare, as well as to rural development.

(2) The share of the organic agricultural sector is on the increase in most Member States. Growth in consumer demand in recent years is particularly remarkable. Recent reforms of the common agricultural policy, with its emphasis on market-orientation and the supply of quality products to meet consumer demands, are likely to further stimulate the market in organic produce. Against this background the legislation on organic production plays an increasingly important role in the agricultural policy framework and is closely related to developments in the agricultural markets.

(3) The Community legal framework governing the sector of organic production should pursue the objective of ensuring fair competition and a proper functioning of the internal market in organic products, and of maintaining and justifying consumer confidence in products labelled as organic. It should further aim at providing conditions under which this sector can progress in line with production and market developments.

(4) The Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on a European Action Plan for Organic Food and Farming proposes to improve and reinforce the Community's organic farming standards and import and inspection requirements. In its conclusions of 18 October 2004, the Council called on the Commission to review the Community legal framework in this field with a view to ensure simplification and overall coherence and in particular to establish principles encouraging harmonisation of standards and, where possible, to reduce the level of detail.

(5) It is therefore appropriate to define more explicitly the objectives, principles and rules applicable to organic production, in order to contribute to transparency and consumer confidence as well as to a harmonised perception of the concept of organic production.

(6) To that end, Council Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91 of 24 June 1991 on organic production of agricultural products and indications referring thereto on agricultural products and foodstuffs(2) should be repealed and replaced by a new regulation.

(7) A general Community framework of organic production rules should be established with regard to plant, livestock, and aquaculture production, including rules for the collection of wild plants and seaweeds, rules on conversion, as well as rules on the production of processed food, including wine, and feed and organic yeast. The Commission should authorise the use of products and substances and decide on methods to be used in organic farming and in the processing of organic food.

(8) The development of organic production should be facilitated further, in particular by fostering the use of new techniques and substances better suited to organic production.

(9) Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and products produced from or by GMOs are incompatible with the concept of organic production and consumers' perception of organic products. They should therefore not be used in organic farming or in the processing of organic products.

(10) The aim is to have the lowest possible presence of GMOs in organic products. The existing labelling thresholds represent ceilings which are exclusively linked to the adventitious and technically unavoidable presence of GMOs.

(11) Organic farming should primarily rely on renewable resources within locally organised agricultural systems. In order to minimise the use of non-renewable resources, wastes and by-products of plant and animal origin should be recycled to return nutrients to the land.

(12) Organic plant production should contribute to maintaining and enhancing soil fertility as well as to preventing soil erosion. Plants should preferably be fed through the soil eco-system and not through soluble fertilisers added to the soil.

(13) The essential elements of the organic plant production management system are soil fertility management, choice of species and varieties, multiannual crop rotation, recycling organic materials and cultivation techniques. Additional fertilisers, soil conditioners and plant protection products should only be used if they are compatible with the objectives and principles of organic production.

(14) Livestock production is fundamental to the organisation of agricultural production on organic holdings in so far as it provides the necessary organic matter and nutrients for cultivated land and accordingly contributes towards soil improvement and the development of sustainable agriculture.

(15) In order to avoid environmental pollution, in particular of natural resources such as the soil and water, organic production of livestock should in principle provide for a close relationship between such production and the land, suitable multiannual rotation systems and the feeding of livestock with organic-farming crop products produced on the holding itself or on neighbouring organic holdings.

(16) As organic stock farming is a land-related activity animals should have, whenever possible, access to open air or grazing areas.

(17) Organic stock farming should respect high animal welfare standards and meet animals' species-specific behavioural needs while animal-health management should be based on disease prevention. In this respect, particular attention should be paid to housing conditions, husbandry practices and stocking densities. Moreover, the choice of breeds should take account of their capacity to adapt to local conditions. The implementing rules for livestock production and aquaculture production should at least ensure compliance with the provisions of the European Convention for the Protection of Animals kept for Farming purposes and the subsequent recommendations by its standing committee (T-AP).

(18) The organic livestock production system should aim at completing the production cycles of the different livestock species with organically reared animals. It should therefore encourage the increase of the gene pool of organic animals, improve self reliance and thus ensure the development of the sector.

(19) Organic processed products should be produced by the use of processing methods which guarantee that the organic integrity and vital qualities of the product are maintained through all stages of the production chain.

(20) Processed food should be labelled as organic only where all or almost all the ingredients of agricultural origin are organic. However, special labelling provisions should be laid down for processed foods which include agricultural ingredients that cannot be obtained organically, as it is the case for products of hunting and fishing. Moreover, for the purpose of consumer information, transparency in the market and to stimulate the use of organic ingredients, it should also be made possible to refer to organic production in the ingredients list under certain conditions.

(21) It is appropriate to provide for flexibility as regards the application of production rules, so as to make it possible to adapt organic standards and requirements to local climatic or geographic conditions, specific husbandry practices and stages of development. This should allow for the application of exceptional rules, but only within the limits of specific conditions laid down in Community legislation.

(22) It is important to maintain consumer confidence in organic products. Exceptions from the requirements applicable to organic production should therefore be strictly limited to cases where the application of exceptional rules is deemed to be justified.

(23) For the sake of consumer protection and fair competition, the terms used to indicate organic products should be protected from being used on non-organic products throughout the Community and independently of the language used. The protection should also apply to the usual derivatives or diminutives of those terms, whether they are used alone or combined.

(24) In order to create clarity for consumers throughout the Community market, the EU-logo should be made obligatory for all organic pre-packaged food produced within the Community. It should otherwise be possible to use the EU-logo on a voluntary basis in the case of non pre-packaged organic products produced within the Community or any organic products imported from third countries.

(25) It is however considered appropriate to limit the use of the EU-logo to products which contain only, or almost only, organic ingredients in order not to mislead consumers as to the organic nature of the entire product. It should therefore not be allowed to use it in the labelling of in-conversion products or processed foodstuffs of which less than 95 % of its ingredients of agricultural origin are organic.

(26) The EU-logo should under no circumstances prevent the simultaneous use of national or private logos.

(27) Moreover, for the sake of avoiding deceptive practices and any possible confusion amongst consumers on the Community or non-Community origin of the product, whenever the EU-logo is used, consumers should be informed about the place were the agricultural raw materials of which the product is composed have been farmed.

(28) The Community rules should promote a harmonised concept of organic production. The competent authorities, control authorities and control bodies should refrain from any conduct that might create obstacles to the free movement of compliant products that have been certified by an authority or body located in another Member State. They should in particular not impose any additional controls or financial burdens.

(29) For the sake of consistency with Community legislation in other fields, in the case of plant and livestock production, Member States should be allowed to apply within their own territories, national production rules which are stricter than the Community organic production rules, provided that these national rules also apply to non-organic production and are otherwise in conformity with Community law.

(30) The use of GMOs in organic production is prohibited. For the sake of clarity and coherence, it should not be possible to label a product as organic where it has to be labelled as containing GMOs, consisting of GMOs or produced from GMOs.

(31) In order to ensure that organic products are produced in accordance with the requirements laid down under the Community legal framework on organic production, activities performed by operators at all stages of production, preparation and distribution of organic products should be submitted to a control system set up and managed in conformity with the rules laid down in Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on official controls performed to ensure the verification of compliance with feed and food law, animal health and animal welfare rules(3).

(32) It might in some cases appear disproportionate to apply notification and control requirements to certain types of retail operators, such as those who sell products directly to the final consumer or user. It is therefore appropriate to allow Member States to exempt such operators from these requirements. However, in order to avoid fraud it is necessary to exclude from the exemption those retail operators who produce, prepare or store products other than in connection with the point of sale, or who import organic products or who have contracted out the aforesaid activities to a third party.

(33) Organic products imported into the European Community should be allowed to be placed on the Community market as organic, where they have been produced in accordance with production rules and subject to control arrangements that are in compliance with or equivalent to those laid down in Community legislation. In addition, the products imported under an equivalent system should be covered by a certificate issued by the competent authority, or recognised control authority or body of the third country concerned.

(34) The assessment of equivalency with regard to imported products should take into account the international standards laid down in Codex Alimentarius.

(35) It is considered appropriate to maintain the list of third countries recognised by the Commission as having production standards and control arrangement which are equivalent to those provided for in Community legislation. For third countries which are not included in that list, the Commission should set up a list of control authorities and control bodies recognised as being competent for the task of ensuring controls and certification in third countries concerned.

(36) Relevant statistical information should be collected in order to obtain reliable data needed for the implementation and follow-up of this Regulation and as a tool for producers, market operators and policy makers. The statistical information needed should be defined within the context of the Community Statistical Programme.

(37) This Regulation should apply from a date which gives the Commission sufficient time to adopt the measures necessary for its implementation.

(38) The measures necessary for the implementation of this Regulation should be adopted in accordance with Council Decision 1999/468/EC of 28 June 1999 laying down the procedures for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on the Commission(4).

(39) The dynamic evolution of the organic sector, certain highly sensitive issues linked to the organic production method and the need to ensure a smooth functioning of the internal market and control system makes it appropriate to provide for a future review of the Community rules on organic farming, taking into account the experience gained from the application of these rules.

(40) Pending the adoption of detailed Community production rules for certain animal species and aquatic plants and micro-algae, Member States should have the possibility to provide for the application of national standards or, in the absence thereof, private standards accepted or recognised by the Member States,

HAS ADOPTED THIS REGULATION:

(1)

Opinion delivered on 22 May 2007 (not yet published in the Official Journal).

(2)

OJ L 198, 22.7.1991, p. 1. Regulation as last amended by Commission Regulation (EC) No 394/2007 (OJ L 98, 13.4.2007, p. 3).

(4)

OJ L 184, 17.7.1999, p. 23. Decision as amended by Decision 2006/512/EC (OJ L 200, 22.7.2006, p. 11).

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