30th May 2023 12:58 am

30th May 2023 12:58 am


The Alliance for Organic Integrity (AOI) and Biocertificacion SL (BSL) re-launched the highly respected ‘The Organic Standard’ journal at Biofach 2023 in Nuremberg, Germany.

Originally founded in 2000 by Grolink, ‘The Organic Standard’ online journal provides the organic community with much needed news, analysis, insight and guidance on global organic regulatory, standards and control issues.

The partnership between AOI and BSL has enabled ‘The Organic Standard’ to be revived, reporting on timely issues affecting organic integrity and the organic control community and providing the information needed to help strengthen organic assurance, globally.

About The Alliance for Organic Integrity

The Alliance was founded in 2019 by IOAS to improve organic integrity. Our mission is to be the global multi-stakeholder Alliance that delivers the education, tools and resources needed to lift quality in organic control, while maintaining the integrity of organic certification and consumer confidence in the organic label. We are a not-for-profit organisation, registered in the US as a 501(c)(3) corporation. Visit our website to learn more or to find out how you can join the Alliance and support our work. www.alliancefororganicintegrity.bio

About Biocertificacion SL

The company was founded as Organic Assignments C.B. in 2004 and changed its name to Biocertificación S.L. in 2020. Biocertificación collaborates with other certification bodies and standards owners, such as Naturland, Soil Association, bio.inspecta AG, etc., in verifying the application of organic production and processing standards such as the organic EU Regulation, Naturland Standards, COSMOS, etc. Its main project is BioVidaSana for the certification of organic and natural cosmetics. This non-profit project enables rigorously reviewed organic cosmetic products from small artisan producers, as well as medium and large trademarks, to be incorporated into the market. www.cosmeticabiovidasana.org

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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.


The Philippines and Organic Rice Production

The Philippines is an archipelago of 7,107 islands with a land area of 300,000 sq. km. . Rice, which accounts for 35% of the average calorie intake of the population, is one of the major crops and is cultivated in an area of about 40,600 km (or 13.62% of the total land area). In addition, the rice industry has the highest labour absorption (11.5 million farmers) among the sub-sectors of Philippine agriculture .

The Philippine organic rice industry is in its infancy, as organic rice production covers about 0.35% (14,209 ha) of the total land area, with 34,990 farmers. The primary movers consist of development organisations that are working towards the goal of alleviating poverty among marginalised farming communities. The production systems and quality definitions for ‘organic rice’ vary from one group to another.

Among the challenges of organic rice production are a drop in yield during conversion, the limited support for organic production, a lack of production financing and that only a handful of organisations are involved in marketing. Philippine organic rice has also yet to be labeled as ‘organic’ because the functional definition for the product is not clear. In the global market, Philippine organic rice is not very competitive because (1) there is no local agency (with a commanding presence worldwide) to monitor and evaluate local certifying bodies for organic rice production, and (2) the policy environment of the country as a whole is not supportive of organic rice commercialisation. Lastly, there are issues regarding land rights, as land ownership and stewardship in the country remains a challenge for small family farmers. Add to these challenges the vulnerability of the country to climate change, and farmers are left to deal with complex and unpredictable changes in weather patterns.

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New organic grower group regulations pose challenges and opportunities ahead

Most organic-certified producers around the world are certified as part of producer groups (PGs) – 2.6 million producers in 5900 organisations in 58 countries, based on data from F. Meinshausen et al (2018). The strategy for grower group certification started around the 1980s in Oaxaca, Mexico, with producer groups such as UCIRI, and certification agencies such as Naturland and OCIA. This is the only system that renders third-party certification accessible for smallholders around the world.
For many years, group certification, although accepted by the main organic markets (the European Union and the United States), was not clearly described in their regulations until recently. For the European market, it is now included in the Regulation (EU) 2018/848, and for the USA market, the Strengthening Organic Enforcement rule of the National Organic Program (SOE NOP) published recently and in force from 19 March 2024. Until now, guidance such as the NOSB 2002 & 2008, as well as policy memos, were used to control the certification in these organisations around the world. It is important to mention that grower groups were included in the national organic regulations of most producing countries in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. In Costa Rica, as an example, it has been included since 1997, and it was accepted in the equivalent agreement as a third country with the EU in April 2002.

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Australian consumers demand controls in the organic market

The Organic Consumers Association of Australia (OCAA) is a non-profit organisation, founded in May 2019 and dedicated to maintaining and enhancing ethical and quality standards in the Australian organic food industry.

Most issues in Australian organics arise because Australia does not have any domestic regulation for organic products. The National Standard for Organic and Biodynamic Produce is used to control exports of organic produce, and in the absence of any other controls, it has become a default domestic standard, but it has no legal status in the domestic market.

In 2007, during hearings for a major organic fraud case about the sale of eggs, the magistrate said he could not use the National Standard to determine the ‘organicness’ of the produce, because its application was limited to exports. However, he could determine that the logo of the certification body NASAA had been misused. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) imposed a fine of about $AU270,000 for the fraud, and $AU54,000 of these funds were directed to NASAA because its label had been infringed. The remainder of the funds were used by the Organic Federation of Australia (now replaced as the peak body for the sector by Organic Industries Australia) to produce an Australian Standard, the AS6000 for Organic and Biodynamic Produce, which came into effect in 2009.

The AS6000 can be used by Australian courts to define what is ‘organic’, but it is not mandatory. Australian consumer law is generally regarded as strong and able to deal with most food labelling issues, but without a specific budget to detect and act upon false and misleading claims, consumer authorities conduct no regular surveillance of the organic market.

Lack of domestic regulation has resulted in confusion from producers, processors, traders, and consumers about which standard applies, how to read certification labels, and who is responsible. That confusion is threatening to undermine consumer confidence in organic, especially when there is now a barrage of new voluntary standards confronting consumers and competing with organic logos.

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Major changes in US organic regulations on the horizon

After years of work, and receiving and reviewing thousands of pages of public comment, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published the long-awaited Strengthening Organic Enforcement (SOE) final rule on 19 January, 2023. This behemoth of a rule – 282 pages in length – is the biggest change to the US organic regulations since the creation of the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) by statute in 1990. The rule closes gaps in current regulations and clarifies or defines consistent practices to detect and prevent fraud, improve the transparency and traceability of organic products across the supply chain, and protect organic integrity. Organic stakeholders and supply chain participants must comply with the new requirements by 19 March, 2024. This includes operations that are not currently required to be certified, but will be required to become certified as a result of this rule.

Overview of the SOE:

What does the SOE rule do? It clarifies and creates regulations intended to reduce fraud in the organic marketplace; strengthens the oversight of organic producers, handlers and certifiers; and improves the USDA’s enforcement mechanisms. Its goal is to boost the integrity of the global organic market, bolster consumer confidence in the USDA organic seal, and transform the oversight and enforcement of organic production worldwide. NOP officials have stated that this rule is needed because organic supply chains have become increasingly complex, reducing transparency in the market and leading to documented cases of organic fraud and gaps in oversight.

The rule impacts most, if not all, entities in organic supply chains that touch the United States – from certifiers and inspectors; to commodity brokers, traders, importers and exporters; to producers and processors. The rule creates stronger tools and processes that help ensure compliance; implement robust and consistent enforcement of the organic regulations; improve farm to market traceability; enhance consumer and farmer trust in the USDA organic label; and create a level playing field for organic farms and businesses.

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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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