24th Oct 2016

EU and US roll out gold standard for 'organic' food

Organic goods produced in the United States and in Europe will be sold and certified under the same "organic" label in both markets after a trade deal signed on Wednesday (15 February).

Previously, both European and US farmers had to obtain separate certifications. A European farmer, for instance, wishing to sell organic food in the US would have had to obtain a US "organic" label and vice-versa.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Ciolos called it a step forward in EU-US "agricultural relations" (Photo: wikipedia)

Under the new deal, which is to be launched in June, producers on both sides of the Atlantic will have one standard and one certificate issued by existing US or EU national authorities.

Meats, cereals, and wines receiving organic certification in one region can be sold as organic in the other.

"Organic farmers and food producers will benefit from easier access, with less bureaucracy and less costs, to both the US and the EU markets, strengthening the competitiveness of this sector," said EU agriculture commissioner Dacian Ciolos in Nuremberg, Germany where the deal was inked.

The organic industry in the US and Europe is worth a combined €40 billion a year.

According to the European Commission, both regions account for 90 percent of global organic consumption. In the EU, the market had a six percent annual growth in the past decade.

Ambassador Isi Siddiqui, a senior US trade representative, said the new deal would "lead to more jobs in this important sector for both America and Europe."

The two sides agreed that each other's standards were almost identical after two years of inspections.

But slight variations mean not all organic produce can be freely exported.

US organic pears and apples, for instance, do not qualify. Nor do some EU organic meats and fish, which are sometimes exposed to antibiotics - strictly prohibited under the new agreement.

All organic products will have a label identifying where they are from and who certified them so that regulators can track compliance with the new regime.


Europe ready to tackle Greek debt relief

The Greek government has built and broadened alliances in EU institutions and member-states that acknowledge the need to restructure the debt and deliver another economic model for the eurozone.

News in Brief

  1. Canada and Wallonia end talks without Ceta deal
  2. Juncker hopes for Canada accord in 'next few days'
  3. Romania drops opposition to Ceta
  4. Difficulties remain on Ceta deal, says Walloon leader
  5. Brexit could lead to 'some civil unrest' in Northern Ireland
  6. ECB holds rates and continues quantitive easing programme
  7. Support for Danish People's Party drops, poll
  8. Spain's highest court overturns Catalan ban on bullfighting

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFADraft Bill for a 2nd Scottish Independence Referendum
  2. UNICEFCalls on European Council to Address Plight of Refugee and Migrant Children
  3. ECTAJoin us on 9-10 November in Brussels and Discover the new EU Digital Landscape
  4. Access NowCan you Hear me now? Verizon’s Opportunity to Stand for Global Users
  5. Belgrade Security ForumMeaningful Dialogue Missing Not Only in the Balkans, but Throughout Europe
  6. EASPDJoin the Trip! 20 Years on the Road. Conference & Photo Exhibition on 19-21 October
  7. EuropecheEU Fishing Sector Celebrates Sustainably Sourced Seafood in EU Parliament
  8. World VisionWomen and Girls Urge EU Leadership to Help end Gender-based Violence
  9. Dialogue PlatformIs Jihadism Blind Spot of Western Intellectuals ? Wednesday 26 October
  10. Belgrade Security ForumGet the Latest News and Updates on the Belgrade Security Forum @BelSecForum
  11. Crowdsourcing Week EuropeMaster Crowdsourcing, Crowdfunding and Innovation! Conference 21 November - 10% Discount Code CSWEU16
  12. EJCEU Parliament's Roadmap for Relations with Iran a Massive Missed Opportunity