The EU’s ‘leaf’ logo (shown in the image) must now appear on all packaged organic food and drink after a two-year transition period ended on 1 July. It means food manufacturers – and the farmers they got the ingredients from – have complied with strict EU-wide rules for organic food and drink, according to the European Commission. The rules – and logo – aim to promote the EU’s organic farmers, their care for the land, biodiversity and high standards of animal protection. The logo can be adopted on a voluntary basis by organic licencees.
The market has been growing in recent years. About 2% of the foods bought by EU consumers are certified as organic, and around 200 000 EU farms are certified as organic producers.
When using the EU organic logo, manufacturers must also put on the label the reference number of the certification authority and the names of the producer, processor or distributor who last handled the product. National organic certification marks may also be used alongside the EU’s logo.
The logo remains optional on unpackaged produce and imports. Organic rules in other countries and certification authorities must have been recognised as equivalent to EU standards before organic products can be imported into EU countries.
Products may only be called organic if at least 95% of their agricultural ingredients are organic. The use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and products manufactured from GMOs is prohibited. It is possible to list organic products with lower percentages with the certifying body.