23rd febrero 2024 3:55 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 issue 191 (January 2024) is being distributed;  order your subscription and stay informed.

The Alliance Joins BIOFACH 2024

On February 13-16, 2024, the Alliance and The Organic Standard will be at the Biofach, Nuremberg, the world’s leading trade fair for organic food. You will find us at Hall 3A, Stand 318 with the IOAS. Our team is excited to meet with you, answer questions, and discuss how we can together, lift quality in organic control, maintain the integrity of organic certification and increase consumer confidence in the organic label. You can also book your appointment by emailing info@alliancefororganicintegrity.bio or just drop by our BIOFACH stand. See you there!

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.


Protecting organic integrity following EU legislation: the role of the control institutions

In the previous article in TOS 190 we described the responsibility organic operators have, to safeguard the integrity of the organic supply chain. In this article we will focus on the responsibilities of the control bodies and control authorities as described in article 29(1) of regulation 2018/848 (described here together as control institutions). And to prevent ourselves from writing too long a piece, we will concentrate on just three parts of the article.
One: Act on substantiated information
The control institutions have to check whether companies producing, handling and importing organic products follow the rules of Article 27 and 28 by having set up appropriate internal procedures. They do this regularly, via inspection of the company. This is a prerequisite for the function of the overall new system.
Article 29(1) describes what the control institutions need to do in case substantiated information about the presence of a non-allowed substance arises. This information can be provided by operators that have a substantiated suspicion themselves. But this is only one possible source of information, other information can come from an investigation by control institutions or from another source, for example food safety control authorities.

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What´s in TOS 191


Dear readers, the entire TOS team is very excited about this last issue of 2023. This issue begins with an interesting article on the role of control bodies and competent authorities in protecting the organic integrity of products according to EU regulations. We publish the second of our fraud case studies, which shows the complexity of the international organic trade and the low efficiency of the bureaucracy created around the international transactions. The article leaves some questions for readers to provoke their reflections on these questions; and as the author indicates, we encourage readers to participate with their opinions and cases that may be useful to the sector to ensure the integrity of organic production.

This issue also continues its trip to the United States to learn about the actions on ecolabels, in this case a USDA scheme. It seems that ecolabels, as in Europe, are growing like mushrooms and, as expressed in the article, they may actually create more confusion than benefit to consumers.

TOS, for the first-time, travels to Japan to update us on some changes in JAS and we are happy to learn about the measures that MAFF has implemented to achieve the aim that 25% of farmland has organic certification by 2050.

Two updates on the EU Regulation are covered in this issue: the coming into force of some changes in the Annexes of the EU Regulation, among others the list of permitted non-organic agricultural ingredients, which is now much reduced; and the new regulation approved by the EU Council on pet feed, which eases the production of organic feed for carnivorous animals such as cats and dogs.

There is a section that we started some issues ago and that is widely represented in this 191 TOS issue, it is the section “beyond the standards”, with articles that encourage us to trust in initiatives, organic production and producers who go beyond what is required by the EU Regulation or other official standards on organic farming. The awareness that there are producers who are motivated not only by economic benefit but also by the protection of the environment is encouraging. In this issue we learn about producers who use traditional and sustainable systems in their production, the traditional irrigation system in Almería, Spain, who’s growers make efficient use of irrigation water while achieving more sustainable production and another case, where a grower has based the production system of her organic farm on encouraging biodiversity and natural pest control. In this case study, the transition from conventional to organic production does not mean a change of the pesticide used, changing non-permitted to those permitted in organic farming, but on the use of natural enemies of the pests that must be «cultivated» in the farms to allow a balance and to produce healthy crops.

There is a topic that we always like to cover in TOS, which is news on Grower Groups and PGS; we believe that these initiatives deserve the attention and the support of the organic sector. In this case, the story covered is a Participatory Guarantee System in Mexico, a country whose competent authority recognises this system to produce organic food.

A section that we are covering more often in this new stage of TOS is cosmetics; and on this occasion we present the BioVidaSana standard from Spain, which is in a way a social project, as it is aimed at small brands and includes consumers and other stakeholders.

In this issue we have other articles and news that we hope readers will find useful and enjoyable.

We wish you all a happy, prosperous, and organic beginning of the year, in which your professional and personal purposes will be fulfilled.

Kind regards,

Jesús Concepcion-Cabrera and
Nuria Alonso
The Organic Standard

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USDA Certified Biobased Product

As we know, the climate crisis has had an impact on consumer behaviour and preferences – leading to a number of “ecolabels”, designed to help consumers make informed choices and incentivize producers to make more sustainable and renewable decisions. In the United States, the best known of these labels is the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Certified Organic label, a voluntary labelling program that verifies that organic practices are used in the production and handling of agricultural products that go into our food and fibre. This label has been trusted by consumers for over twenty years, leading to $67.6 billion in U.S. sales of organic products in 2022.
Other ecolabels – such as cage-free, humane, and natural – vary in how stringently they are verified. They generally do not adhere to clear standards and may create consumer confusion.
In 2011, the USDA launched a BioPreferred Program that includes a voluntary labelling initiative for biobased products. This initiative

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EU Implementing Regulation 2021/1165 now comes into effect

This regulation introduces changes in many of the Annexes of the Regulation (EU) 2018/848 such as Annex I (substances for pest control), Annex II (substances for fertilisation), Annex III (feed), Annex IV (products for cleaning and disinfection), and Annex V on processing aids and Additives.
The Regulation was published in 2021, but it is now, in January 2024 when it came into force.

Regarding Annex V- Part B: “Authorised non-organic agricultural ingredients to be used for the production of processed organic food”, the list has been reduced quite a lot. From now on, only the following non-organic agricultural ingredients are permitted: Alga Arame (Eisenia Bicyclis); Alga Hijiki (Hizikia fusiforme); Bark of the Pau d’arco tree Handroanthus impetiginosus (‘lapacho’) – only for use in Kombucha and tea mixtures; Wild fishes and wild aquatic animals, unprocessed as well as products derived therefrom by processes – only from fisheries that have been certified as sustainable under a scheme recognised by the competent authority and only when not available in organic aquaculture; Gelatin – from other sources than porcine; Casings – of animal or vegetal origin, and Milk mineral powder/liquid – only when used for its sensory function to replace wholly or partly sodium chloride.

The following ingredients are no longer permitted for use in non-organic form:

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The Col Trick: a fraud case study

Fraud case studies
The following case concerns a typical North-South trade relationship, involving a grower group and what might happen there. There are some commonalities with similar situations, and some differences. In this case the product is not identified, in order to encourage the readers’ thinking as to what product this could be. No countries are mentioned – what countries could these be? No operator names are identified for the simple reason that this article is based on a confession, a verbal report by the exporter, who promised to mend their ways. On purpose it gives a bit of background of the situation in which decisions are made. When the operators get in a difficult situation. So hopefully not structural to the business.

A Certificate of Inspection trick
There is a country C1 in the Global South, with a mature grower group, developed by an importer I1 in European country C2, focusing on one main cash crop X. The smallholders produce around 1000 tons of X per year. The farmers are organised in a coop, there is an Internal Control System (ICS). They are certified by a Control Body (CB) from country C2. Importer I1 initially paid for the certification fees.
The certification concentrates on the one exported crop, on the fields where the crop is grown. It does not cover the whole farm, or the farmers’ other activities. Originally it is an organic by default situation, i.e.

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An annual subscription includes 6 issues per year, sent bi-monthly directly to your inbox. Group subscriptions are available if sharing with 5+ individuals within an organisation

Organic farming

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



If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us at: news@organicstandard.com to discuss your proposal and for signing  the TOR for contributors.

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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.

You are very welcome to the international family of TOS´s readers.