Current regulations for organic products
Throughout the European Union, Regulation (EC) No. 834/2007 specifies all the rules to be followed when dealing with the production, processing, distribution, import, control and labelling of organic products. This regulation is supplemented by implementing regulations, in particular Regulation (EC) No 889/2008.
Rules regarding methods to implement harvesting or cultivation of organic seaweed and organic microalgae are currently described in the following regulations:
• Regulation No 710/2009 (amending the Regulation (EC) No 889/2008 which details rules for the application of the Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 as regards to the organic production of animals from aquaculture and seaweed)
• Regulation No. 2016/673 (amending of the Regulation (EC) No. 889/2008 which details rules for the application of the Council Regulation (EC) No. 834/2007 regarding the organic production and labelling of organic products relative to organic production, labelling and controls).
Towards a new European regulation for organic farming
The founding regulation of the European organic label was reconsidered in 2014 and led, in May 2018, to a new regulation: regulation n ° 2018/848 related to organic production and labelling of organic products, which hence revoked the regulation 834/2007.
The rules for the production of organic seaweed (harvesting or cultivation) are now included in this new regulation 2018/848.
This new text modifies certain rules and establishes new provisions, notably: enlarges the scope of the regulation, clarifies the origin indicated on the labelling, implements more targeted controls, provides better readability of import rules, maintains the principle of link to the soil, strengthens precautionary measures to avoid contamination and creates a ” certification group ” for small producers. For more details, see https://www.agencebio.org/sites/default/files/upload/documents/3_Espace_Pro/vers_un_nouveau_reglement_bio_0.pdf
The application has been postponed for one year
This new European “organic” regulation should have come into force in January 2021. However, the European Commission decided to postpone its implementation for one year, for an application in January 1st, 2022 and this at the request of the Member States, the European Parliament, third countries and other stakeholders (European Commission decision of 4 September 2020). Indeed, finalizing the secondary regulations (delegated acts and implementing acts stemming from the main regulation) was significantly delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In parallel, the Commission has also launched a public consultation on its future action plan for organic farming in the scope of its ‘farm to fork’ strategy. Europe has the aim to increase the surface of organically cultivated land from 8% today to 25% by 2030. To prepare this new action plan for the development of organic production in the EU, a public consultation was hence launched and open until November 27th 2020 in order to collect, through a questionnaire, the opinions of citizens, national authorities and stakeholders involved the draft plan.