European Law Monitor

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newsLook out for new Euro-leaf Symbol

Designed by German student Dusan Milenkovic, the new organic food logo, nicknamed the “Euro-leaf”  came  into force on the 1st July 2010. The Euro-leaf aims to ensure customer confidence that the origins and quality of the food and drink they are buying complies with the EU organic farming regulations. It is compulsory for organic pre-packaged food products within the European union and possible to use on a voluntary basis for non pre packaged food that is produced within the EU or any organic food imported from third countries.

Organic food can best be described as food grown without most artificial fertilisers or pesticides and in a way that emphasises crop rotation, making the most of natural fertilisers and ensuring the life of the soil is maintained. Animals are also kept in ways which minimise the need for chemicals and other medicinal treatment. It is big business as the awareness and importance of healthy living is growing, so is the popularity of organic food products and it has become a multi-million pound industry.

Having symbols like the Euro-leaf to prove an items authenticity is very important as many companies aim that their products are organic when they are not genuine. In 2009 a man was jailed for over 2 years, after selling “organic food products” which where nothing of the sort. The five year scam netted over a colossal £500,000. It was all too simple to do, buying non-organic food from supermarkets, then just re-packing them and selling them to the public.
 This is just an example of a widespread problem, in March 2011 an investigation into organic food products being sold in Britain found that one in every six “fresh, handmade and organic” food products were fake. The maximum penalty for misleading customers is six months imprisonment or a £5,000 fine.

Every genuine organic producer of processor is inspected once a year by the certification body they are with (there are 10 in total) another 10% of are checked by the UKROFS (United Kingdom Register of Organic Food Standards) is to make sure that the inspection carried out by the certification body has been completed to the correct standards.

The ten certification companies are Defra, OF&G, SOPA, OFF, SA  Cert, BDAA, IOFGA, Food Certification Scotland, Organic Trust Ltd and Cmi Certification. All of these bodies conform to the standards laid down by the EU. The Soil Association Certification Ltd (SA  Cert) are the largest certification body, certifying over 80%.

The SA itself, is a charity registered in 1946 and also works in certifying products as organic, does research and makes reports on them to further increase awareness and also sets the “benchmarks” for organic food production, packaging, animal welfare, wildlife conservation, residues and additives.

For more information on the Soil Association

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REF: ELM 1st July 2010