Organic products range from fresh fruits and vegetables straight from the farm to wines and cheeses aged over several years. Sales channels are equally diverse, including:
- local organic markets
- organic shops in rural or urban areas
- roadside stalls in the countryside
- direct sales at the farm where the food was produced
- online ordering of organic boxes delivered to the door or to collection points
- supermarkets: many are now expanding and developing their organic product ranges
- restaurants, canteens and catering firms: a growing sector including school meals, public and private-sector canteens and cafeterias in some high-profile companies
Wherever today's consumers choose to buy or eat organic products, they should be able to have confidence that these comply with strict EU rules. Products that do not meet these standards may not be referred to as organic or bear the EU's organic logo or a national equivalent.
This is why the EU regulation on organic farming covers not only production and processing, but also the control and labelling of organic food.
Organic farmers, processors and traders, must comply with strict EU requirements if they want to use the EU organic logo or label their products as organic.
The EU requires an equally strict control system with checks carried out at every stage of the organic chain. Every operator (farmer, processor, trader, importer or exporter) is checked at least once a year, or more often on the basis of risk assessment.
So whenever you buy organic food, you can be confident that it has been produced in accordance with strict environmental and animal welfare rules and checked accordingly .
Labelling of organic produce
As well as the standard list of ingredients and nutritional value figures, organic product labels should bear the name of the producer, processor or distributor who last handled the item. The name or code number of the national certification authority should also be on the label.
The name or code number of the control authority or body in the EU which checked the operator should also be on the label.