In its recent article “When ‘organic’ doesn’t really mean organic in the European Union”, ANH demonstated how EU has permitted the use of non-organic food in ‘organic’ production until 2017. Moreover, the EU standards still allow the use of various additives in organic production.
“We find it shocking that the EU permits so many additives in organic products – over 40 in EU-certified organic wine, for example – and continues to sanction several non-organic agricultural inputs,” said Adam Smith, science and communications officer at ANH.
“When people buy something labelled ‘organic’, especially when accompanied by the EU’s official organic logo, they expect that product to be genuinely organic: i.e. with minimal – and ideally zero – chemical additives and with no non-organic inputs during the production process,” he added.
Section 2 of Commission Regulation (EC) No. 889/2008 defined circumstances where non-organic inputs such as poultry, beeswax, feed, seeds etc. may be used in EU production. It originally expired in 2011, was subsequently extended to the end of 2014 and would now remain in place until 31st December 2017.
As a result organic farms would still be allowed to use non-organic feed for poultry meat and egg production as well as up to 5% non-organic feed for pigs.
Call to action
ANH ‘call to action’ gave the public a chance to back their efforts towards fully organic food. It encouraged people to go for organic box schemes, go shopping locally, take up its ‘Barcode-Free Challenge’, grow own products or even explore WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms).
“EU regulation is driven overwhelmingly by the large food and supplier businesses. Therefore, the most significant pressures to reform the regulatory situation will come from two primary directions. One is certification organisations like the Soil Association; and the other is public pressure,” Smith told Food Navigator.
“People often ask us “But what can we do?” in response to the issues we raise in our work; in this case, we tried to point people toward sources of organic food that are unlikely to contain the non-organic inputs and additives allowed in EU-certified organic products,” he added.