EU Parliament’s negotiators announced today the adoption of new rules to increase consumer trust in organic foodstuffs and unleash the sector′s potential for growth.

The new rules were adopted after informal negotiations with Council experts.

Basically, in order to increase consumers’ trust, it has been decided to impose stricter checks in the supply chain; to adopt new EU anti-contamination rules; and to have the imported food to comply with EU standards.

Rapporteur and chief EP negotiator Martin Häusling (Greens/EFA, DE) said:

‟After 20 months of negotiations we have managed to reach an agreement, which will help organic sector grow and will increase consumers’ trust in organic foodstuffs. It was a laborious task but I believe new rules will bring benefits to both EU consumers and organic farmers‟, said Martin Häusling.

Strict, risk-based controls along the supply chain that, on Parliament’s insistence, will be on-site and for all operators, at least annually or one every two years if no fraud is found in the last three years.

In what concerns the contamination with pesticides, farmers will be obliged to apply precautionary measures to avoid contamination; in case of suspected presence of e.g. a non-authorised pesticide or fertiliser, the final product should not bear the organic label until further investigation; if contamination was deliberate or farmer failed to apply newly introduced precautionary measures, it will lose its organic status.

Member states currently applying thresholds for non-authorised substances in organic food, such as pesticides, could continue to do so, if they allow other EU countries’ organic foodstuffs complying with EU rules to access their markets.

Four years after entry into force of this regulation, the Commission would report back on the efficiency of the EU anti-contamination rules and national thresholds and, if need be, come up with a draft law to harmonise them.

To boost EU organic food production, farms producing both conventional and organic food would be allowed on condition that the two farming activities are clearly and effectively separated.

The agreed text now needs to be approved by the Agriculture Committee, the Parliament and the Council before it can enter into force. It shall apply from 1 July 2020.