Organic food leaders have called on EU institutions to agree on a new organic regulation that actively supports and protects the development of the organic market.
More than 140 people from 18 countries met in Seville, Spain, last week at the 4th Organic Processing Conference to discuss the future of organic food processing. The conference was organized by IFOAM EU and Ecovalia.
Bavo van den Idsert, IFOAM EU Board Member, said: “Organic is growing 6-7% year-on-year, demonstrating consumer demand for environmentally friendly food. This market growth needs to be supported and protected through better implementation of the organic regulation. The new regulation should respect the polluter pays principle. This means that an automatic decertification level on residues is a no-go area, because it would punish organic farmers for contamination caused by neighbours and general environmental contamination. The European Parliament has proposed establishing “new structures” to do just that. The Commission should be open to such proposals, which would improve the coordination and the exchange of information across the EU. The new regulation must support the development of organic in Europe and relieve actors from the burden of uncertainty.”
“The new regulation should respect the polluter pays principle. This means that an automatic decertification level on residues is a no-go area, because it would punish organic farmers for contamination caused by neighbours and general environmental contamination”
Alexander Beck, chair of the IFOAM EU Interest Group for Processors, said: “Many of the front-runners in the development of supply-chain integrity and environmental performance in the food industry are organic. Organic processors and traders, and not only farmers, should apply practises that lower their environmental impact, but the current organic regulation is lacking on this and whether or not it will be included in the new regulation is far from certain. In order to be consistent and support the development of organic, the final agreement should include environmental performance requirements for processors and traders that avoids additional bureaucratic burden, for example starting from the Parliament’s proposal.”
Eduardo Cuoco (pictured, top), IFOAM EU director, said: “The control and certification system is very important for all those working in organic. Making the control system more efficient was one of the main reasons given for starting the revision of the organic regulation in 2012. But what’s currently on the table does not look like it will sufficiently address this critical area, nor does it provide convincing solutions. Annual on-site inspection must be kept, as it is central to consumer confidence and the contact between organic inspectors and operators improves understanding of and adherence to the legal requirements.”
Picture Caption: 24 November: Opening plenary – Enhancing environmental performance: Policy & market drivers in the food system. Alexander Beck – Chair of the Interest Group for Processors and Traders, IFOAM EU & Executive Board Member, AÖL; Laurence Beck – Director Organic Expertise Centre, Quality and R&D, Wessanen; Eduardo Cuoco- IFOAM EU Director; Francisco Javier Maté Caballero – Deputy Director of Differentiated Quality and Organic farming. Directorate-General for Agri-food Processing. Spanish Minsitry for Agriculture and Fishing, Food and Environment; Rosa Isabel Ríos – Director of Processing and Agri-food Chains, Andalusian Region; Álvaro Barrera – President, Ecovalia.