ORGANIC FARMING SECTOR – New European regulation on 1st of January 2022
The new regulation on «organic production and labelling of organic products» R(EU) No 2018/848 enter into force on the 1st of January 2022 in the European Union, and no later than 31 December 2024 outside the EU for countries without trade agreements.
Why a new regulation?
The current Regulation EC 834/2007 of 2009 is repealed. The new regulation would ensure, according to the European Commission, «fair competition for farmers, while preventing fraud and preserving consumer confidence”.
What changes regarding imports?
Regarding labelling, products with the mention “EU Agriculture” may contain 5% of non-EU ingredients, compared to 2% previously.
The main novelty comes from the certification of the organic production method and the transition from an equivalence system to a conformity system.
In other words, the equivalence system concerns 13 countries: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, India, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland, Tunisia, United States, New Zealand, Chile.
For the rest of the world and the majority of productions, the certification was based on specifications that each certification body (CB) set up according to their own standards; we are talking about a system of CBs designated for equivalence purposes.
End of the equivalence regime
From the 1st of January 2022, it is therefore the end of the equivalence regime for Third Countries. The European Union will now recognize certain national regulations as equivalent through bilateral trade agreements before 31 of December 2026. To date, the EU has concluded a trade agreement with Chile as well as with the United Kingdom.
The equivalence regime will also end for control bodies in third countries by 31/12/2024 at the latest. They will have to issue a certification «in accordance with the new European Regulation R(EU) 2018/848″.
The main challenge is compliance, from the producer to the processor to the exporter. To be compliant, everything listed in European regulations will have to be listed “one to one” in the third country.
Producers will have to have an administrative legal entity, and group certification will be limited to 2000 producers. In Africa, for example, certification is currently carried by the exporter. Small producers will have to be structured, a complex task when we know the administrative, legal and political vagaries of these countries.
Processors, on the other hand, will have to pay attention to the list of products used, especially disinfectants and cleaning products.
For exporters, from 2025, pay attention to the revision of the Committee on the problem of pesticide residues in organic products. Today the rules are heterogeneous according to the country: maximum authorized limits, or simple presence of pesticides detected which leads to an investigation to decide on an authorization or not.
The transition to compliance means that the European regulation applies in the same way for all countries, there is no longer any differentiation between a product from third countries and an EU country. This can lead to renewed confidence in operators and consumers.
On the other hand, producer groups will have to organize and take care of themselves. It can be seen as a form of empowerment to defend their interests against exporters.
Nevertheless, the question has not yet been decided on who of the production organization or the control body will submit the application files in conformity, because for the moment no one knows the constituent elements.
Natexpo 2021: conference “New regulations and third countries: what changes at the stage of production in third countries?” organized by Ecocert and Ingrebio
Cofrac. “Transition modalities: Certification of organic production methods in Third Countries according to RUE 2018/848″
European Commission: Regulation (EU) 2018/848 of 30 May 2018