1st octubre 2023 11:44 am

An international bi-monthly journal that enables individuals and organisations to keep up-to-date on development concerning worldwide standards and certification issues in the organic sector.



The Organic Standard is an international bi-monthly journal that enables individuals and organisations to keep up-to-date on development concerning worldwide standards and certification issues in the organic sector.

The first issue of The Organic Standard (TOS) was published in 2000, and for almost 20 years it provided the organic community with much needed news, analysis, insight and guidance on global organic regulatory, standards and control issues.  The Organic Standard was relaunched in February 2023, via a partnership between The Alliance for Organic Integrity and the TOS editors, Biocertificación S.L. 

The organisations recognized the gap for an information resource that reports on timely issues affecting organic integrity and the organic control community: The Organic Standard aims to fill this gap, providing the information needed to help Strengthen Organic Assurance, Globally.

The journal has a growing number of subscribers representing certification bodies, standard setters, sector bodies, governments, consultancies and industry. It has become widely recognised as the credible source of international news and analysis for organic standards setting, certification, regulation and accreditation. The journal has different sections such as Certification & accreditation, Standards & regulation, Updates and opinion, Country focus reports among others.

The April issue of Organic standard is being distributed;  order your subscription and stay informed.

The Four Principles of Organic Agriculture | IFOAM

The Principles of Health, Ecology, Fairness, and care are the roots from which organic agriculture grows and develops. They express the contribution that organic agriculture can make to the world, and a vision to improve all agriculture in a global context.
Principle of Health: Organic agriculture should sustain and enhance the health of soil, plant, animal, human and planet as one and indivisible.
Principle of Ecology: Organic agriculture should be based on living ecological systems and cycles, work with them, emulate them and help sustain them.
Principle of Fairness: Organic agriculture should build on relationships that ensure fairness with regard to the common environment and life opportunities.
Principle of Care: Organic agriculture should be managed in a precautionary and responsible manner to protect the health and well-being of current and future generations and the environment.


Historic formation of a united voice for organic industry

In July 2023, 11 Australian organic organisations, including all the certification bodies, came together to form a united voice for Australia’s organic industry.

The Organic Industry Discussion Group (OIDG) was created to advance the interests of the organic sector, particularly the pursuit of domestic regulation. A secretariat has been resourced by Australian Organic Limited (AOL), the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia (NASAA), and Organic Industries of Australia (OIA). The July meeting was the second meeting, leading to the formation of the OIDG and resulting in an agreement of all the major national organic organisations to work together cooperatively.

AOL Chair, Mike Brown, said it comes with the recognition that the industry is stronger together. “We’ve got committed, intelligent people who are passionate about organics coming together as a collective to identify opportunities and pathways for the future, which is incredibly positive,” Mr Brown said. “Our role is to bring organic to the forefront and show the benefits of how we farm because, without doubt, organic is the gold standard for sustainability.”

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Organic Imports in the EU: some highlights

Last July, the EU Commission published its annual report on imports data, titled ‘EU imports of organic agri-food products – key developments 2022’.
Among the data to be highlighted, the first one that catches our attention is the total figure of imports, which has decreased compared to the figures of 2021, from 2.87 million tonnes in 2021 to 2.73 million tonnes in 2022. Supposedly, this is due to the decrease in demand due to the increase in food prices in the EU during the last year.
Some of the most traditional organic commodities imported into the EU such as sugar, fruit and vegetables, and some oils reduced their numbers in 2022. On the other hand, soybeans have increased their import numbers by 51%, with Togo being the main exporter, and ethanol increased its imports by a massive 210%, coming mostly from Colombia. Regarding exporting countries, it is notable that the third position as organic exporters in 2022 is held by Ukraine, due to its cereals, oilseeds, oilcakes and soyabeans exports. The two top positions are held by Ecuador and Dominican Republic, mainly due to the large volumes of organic bananas exported from these two countries.
The main EU importers are the Netherlands and Germany, with 53% of the total EU volume between the two of them. The Netherlands increased the volume of its organic imports by 4.6%; however, Germany decreased by 13.1%.

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IOIA APC position on residue testing

The issue of residues testing is very much highlighted in this TOS issue, where the perspective from different continents is presented. Kathe Purvis, a member of the IOIA Asia Pacific Committee, has provided a ‘position paper’ developed by the IOIA APC in June 2023 in response to some inequities noticed in the region. Her paper can be read in full below.

As a result of issues occurring in our region, the APC (Asia Pacific Committee) of the IOIA (International Organic Inspectors Association) has created a position paper addressing the risks of over-reliance on soil and product testing in organic certification. The IOIA APC position acknowledges that intentional violations in the use of prohibited inputs should continue to be strictly controlled and penalised. The IOIA APC also recognises customer and consumer perceptions regarding what is ‘clean’ food. The concerns of the IOIA APC relate to potentially unfair pressure and mandatory decertifications, which may result if the accreditations system and/or certification body (CB) relies primarily on soil and product test results to determine allowance for and continuation of organic certification.

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What’s All the Buzz about Regenerative Agriculture?

This article is a brief overview of an evolving set of agricultural practices with real potential for positive global impacts. We all know that: there is much too much soil erosion, that we need to sequester much more carbon in the soil, that we need to avoid environmental impacts from toxic pesticides, that biodiversity needs to be urgently enhanced, that farmers and workers face many predatory market pressures, and that many of the current mainstream farming practices are exacerbating these problems.

‘Regenerative’ is now the latest hot agriculture buzz word causing intense debates across many sectors of agriculture – all seeking to claim that their system is regenerative and is now the best approach. However, it is important to understand that the term ‘regenerative agriculture’ has many differing definitions, uses, politics and origins.

Many people credit Bob Rodale with coining the term ‘regenerative’ back in the 1970s. He defined this to include seven very broad scopes or tendencies, which he explained can be applied not only to agriculture, but also to communities and even the human spirit. These tendencies can be summed up as:

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To Everything There is a Season

Every year for so many years, farmers in the Philippines had sown seeds in December and then harvested a predictable volume in February. It was perfectly orchestrated. The plants would shoot up, bud, and then burst forth in blossom for Valentine’s Day. There was a season for everything: a time to plant; a time to pluck up what had been planted.

Except for the last few years, when farmers were still waiting for the plants to bloom right up until February. By then, farmers had lost half of their harvest to the unusual cold. The dependable seasons of wet and dry had gone awry. For the first time in years, clouds blanketed the sun for days. And the cold lingered. Before that, farms had to take on the epic winds of tropical storms, or torrential rains.
The changing climate. You hear about melting ice caps and rising sea levels and yet very little is said about agriculture. You trust that nature will find a way. And perhaps, if there were a threat to agriculture, it wouldn’t put farmers at risk anytime soon.

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When it comes to regenerative agriculture, enthusiasm and confusion seem to be increasing in equal measure.

Enthusiasm, because what’s not to love about a way of working with the land that claims to lock carbon in the soil, and work with people and planet in mind? Confusion, because in reality, ‘regenerative’ is subject to wide-ranging interpretations. It’s a term that could equally mean tokenistic changes to business as usual, or a wholesale shift in farming practices that will result in restored ecosystems and sustainable livelihoods.

For those of us within the organic movement, it’s equally a moment of celebration and trepidation. Celebration, because the word regenerative is reaching new ears, and if taken seriously and executed properly, it could result in the very same principles and practices that underpin the organic movement, being brought to life. If regenerative helps to move our food system in a positive direction for climate and nature, then that’s clearly an excellent result. To that point, there is also trepidation, because if regenerative fails to live up to its most ambitious and progressive claims, it risks distracting the world from the real solutions at a moment in history when we have no time to waste.

Residue findings in organic products in the light of European organic regulation

Development and state of play
From 2022 onwards, farmers, processors and traders who make and sell organic products have to comply with a new organic regulation. With new legal texts it is like a new pair of walking boots. You have to get used to them, sometimes adjust the straps and put in the miles before they really fit well.
After 1.5 years working with the new regulation, we want to look at one particular element of it, namely the responsibilities of the operator and the control authorities to preserve the organic quality. In this part one we will focus on: how did it work in the old regulation, what changes have occurred and what is the future?

In general, what are we talking about?
It has always been one of the most important concepts in the organic regulations that a farmer, company or business active in the organic production chain is responsible for the quality of the organic product. Quality is a very broad word, and in this context, we mean taking care that the organic production rules are applied properly to products you make, buy and sell.

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Organic farming

‘The health of soil, plant, animal and man is one and indivisible’.
                                                                     Lady Eve Balfour



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The Organic Standard Journal (TOS) has an annual subscription that includes 6 issues per year, sent bi-monthly directly to your inbox. Group subscriptions are available if sharing with 5+ individuals within an organisation.

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