20th Mar 2018

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.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

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.

EU imposes stiff controls to block Chinese GM rice

EU member states have slapped rigid new controls on all imports of Chinese rice products in the wake of ever-increasing detection of products 'contaminated' with unauthorised genetically modified rice.


Nanofoods - Coming to a plate near you?

Chocolate that doesn't make you fat. Drinks designed by the press of a button. 'Meat' made from plant protein. Welcome to nanofoods - a brave new world that industry is keen to exploit. But will Europeans ever take to it?

Merkel in Paris for eurozone reform talks

Angela Merkel - who started her fourth term as Germany's chancellor earlier this week - is wasting no time on big issues like eurozone reforms. On Friday she is meeting Emmanuel Macron where the two will seek common ground.

EU insists on US tariffs exemption

Europe is "an ally, not a threat", the EU Commission says - as the US is poised to impose duties in steel and aluminium. Common action on Chinese steel overcapacity could help diffuse the crisis.

Trump starts countdown to EU trade war

EU sales of steel to US to face 25 percent tariff from 23 March, with Europe to hit back on motorbikes and bourbon in looming trade war.

VW dismisses complaints on Dieselgate fix

'I think customers who want to get information (...) are able to receive information if they want," VW management board member Hiltrud Werner told EUobserver. Consumer groups disagree.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceConmtroversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  2. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  3. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  5. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  6. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  7. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  8. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  9. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?
  10. European Jewish CongressThe 2018 European Medal of Tolerance Goes to Prince Albert II of Monaco
  11. FiscalNoteGlobal Policy Trends: What to Watch in 2018
  12. Human Rights and Democracy NetworkPromoting Human Rights and Democracy in the Next Eu Multiannual Financial Framework