You can be confident you are buying organic food and drink when you see the EU’s “leaf” logo on packaging.
The logo (shown in the image) must now appear on all packaged organic foods after a two-year transition period ended on 1 July.
It means food manufacturers – and the farmers they got the ingredients from – have complied with strict EU-wide rules for organic food and drink.
The rules – and logo – aim to promote the EU’s organic farmers, their care for the land, biodiversity and high standards of animal protection.
The market has been growing in recent years. About 2% of the foods bought by EU consumers are certified as organic, and around 200 000 EU farms are certified as organic producers.
When using the EU organic logo, manufacturers must also put on the label the reference number of the certification authority and the names of the producer, processor or distributor who last handled the product. National organic certification marks may also be used alongside the EU’s logo.
The logo remains optional on unpackaged produce and imports. Organic rules in other countries and certification authorities must have been recognised as equivalent to EU standards before organic products can be imported here.
On 1 August new rules on organic wine will become law. In February, the EU signed an agreement with the US on recognising each other’s organic products. The agreement will reduce red tape for exporters.
The Commission is currently looking at ways to further improve the EU’s organic rules.
Organic farming emphasises environmental protection and animal welfare. Farmers must avoid or drastically reduce their use of synthetic chemicals such as fertilisers, pesticides, additives and medicines.
Foods may only be called organic if at least 95% of their agricultural ingredients are organic. The use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and products manufactured from GMOs is prohibited.