Organic foods labelling - turning over a new leaf
10 August 2010
From the 1st of July this year, all pre-packaged organic foods produced within the EU must carry the new "Euro-Leaf" logo (pictured below). The logo is designed to give added consumer confidence in organic products, as it signifies compliance with EU legislation on organic production brought into force in 2009.
The logo will assure consumers that the products are either wholly "organic" within the meaning of the legislation, or, if the product has been processed, made from 95% organic ingredients. The producers involved must also have passed annual inspections and the product must come directly from the producer or preparer in a sealed package.
In addition to the use of the new logo, from 1 July, any products which are not certified as organic in accordance with EU legislation may not be labelled as such.
The logo or code of the national certification body (in the UK this will be the Soil Association, Organic Farmers and Growers Association, or other appointed body) must also appear alongside the Euro-Leaf. The packaging must also indicate where the organic products were farmed. The location can be given as either "EU-agriculture" or "non-EU agriculture", although where all the ingredients are from a particular country, the name of the country can be given instead.
The logo will not have to appear on products which have come from outside the EU, but where it is used, their origin should be given. Products which aren't packaged will not have to display the new label.
There will be a two year transition period to enable producers to comply with the new requirements, but after that, if the new logo fails to appear on products the operator (being the person responsible for the requirements of the legislation being met) may lose their organic certification, and the right to market their products as organic will be withdrawn.
The European Commission, Agriculture and Rural Development department has issued a useful guide on the new logo, which can be accessed here