The lists of substances which can be used in EU organic farming have been amended to include 39 new products. Moreover the rules for approving such substances in future have been simplified to facilitate a more efficient and transparent process for future adjustments. In line with the principles and objectives of organic production and based on the recommendations of the Expert Group on Organic Production (EGTOP), the new Regulation, amending the Annexes of Commission Regulation (EC) No 889/2008 on organic production and labelling of organic products, comes after discussion and widespread support from Member States at the Regulatory Committee on Organic Production (April 6). The new products are authorised for use for different purposes such as basic substances (like vinegar) to be used as plant production products, selenised yeast as a feed additive, wood fibre as a processing aid and gellan gum as a food additive. In parallel, the Regulation allows for further clarification and simplification of the current legislation in organic aquaculture (use of juveniles), on seeweed production (spiruline's production rules) and in organic wine (use of certain oenological practices).
Commission Hogan stated today: "Given the level of growth and dynamic change in the sector, it is very important that EU rules on organic farming remain up to date. Today's new rules updating the substances which can be used in production should provide a boost to the sector. Moreover, with the approval of many of these substances having taken 2 years, we are optimistic that the simplification of the rules will facilitate further change in future and encourage innovative production techniques, while remaining in line with organic principles. I remain committed to the organic sector and the ongoing negotiations with Council and European Parliament to update the EU basic regulation for organics."
The organic sector is one of the most dynamic sectors of EU agriculture, with an average 400 000 hectare increase in organic area every year for the last 10 years, in response to the growth in demand from EU consumers for food produced respecting organic principles. By 2014, some 5.9% of EU farming area was certified as organic. The value of organic production has also increased steadily by 5%-10% a year over the last decade, amounting to EUR 24 billion in 2014.