Certification – a key element of organic farming
A credible certification and labelling method for organic produce must accompany the development of organic farming. There must be consumer confidence in certification and organically-grown produce for which farmers are paid premium prices.
EU law defines the minimum standards for organic products that are produced, manufactured, imported into, sold or traded within the EU – in the Organic Regulation.
An EU logo – an outline of a leaf in the form of stars on a green background – guarantees that products comply with strict EU rules established in the organic farming regulation.
The use of the logo and correct labelling apply to all organic pre-packaged food produced within the EU.
Another EU-implemented certification scheme protects and promotes ‘quality’ agricultural products, with particular characteristics linked to their geographical origin, as well as traditional products.
Producers, or groups of producers, register their products with the European Commission. These schemes and their logos help producers and groups of producers market their products better, while providing them legal protection from misuse or falsification of a product name.
Since it takes several years for farms to become fully organic, what is required is a scale of organic standards – and a corresponding labelling system – signposting the different stages on the path to becoming fully organic. This would encourage organic producers to take small steps on their way to reaching the highest level of organic farming – a total elimination of the use of chemicals.