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Important new amendments to organic regulations

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Changes to organic regulations

Amendments to the organic regulation have recently been published. The full amendment can be found on here but we have summarised the changes below by the categories of production they affect.

Soil Association Standards will be amended with the appropriate changes but until the changes are published, please contact your certification officer if you have any queries or wish to use any of the new substances or practices as some may have to meet certain criteria or require permission before use.

Livestock

  • The amendment clarifies that replacement livestock brought in following high mortality, caused by health or catastrophic circumstances, are still required to go through the appropriate conversion periods for their products to be eligible as organic.

Crop production - Pest control products

  • The list of pest control substances allowed in the organic regulation has been reviewed and amended in line with horizontal legislation covering pest control products for farming in general. The system is simplified to ensure the same product names and registered approved uses are listed for the substances in both organic and general legislation. All the uses approved for farming in general that are also permitted for organic production will not be specified unless tighter restrictions are required for use in organic production. For example fatty acid potassium salt (soft soap) has been changed to fatty acids and the uses has been changed from ‘insecticide’ to ‘All uses authorised, except herbicide’.
  • New substances have been reviewed against organic objectives and principles to allow new products to be used in organic production and some have been removed. The new pest control substances now allowed for organic crop production include carbon dioxide, kieselgur (diatomaceous earth), potassium bicarbonate and the other fatty acids previously excluded by only one being listed. They have also included a new category of pest control product under ‘basic substances’ that fall under other legislation defining basic substances (Article 23(1)  of Regulation EC No1107/2009, that are defined as foodstuffs and of plant or animal origin. These cannot be used as herbicides but only for the control of pests and diseases.  

Livestock Feed additives

  • The list of feed additives allowed in the organic regulation has been reviewed and amended in line with horizontal legislation covering feed additives. The system is simplified so that the ID number of the additives, names, functioning groups and classification in the groups technological and nutritional additives are the same as those in the general legislation for all feed additives. Some previously listed also no longer exist so have been removed and replaced. This includes ‘tocopherol-rich extracts of natural origin’ which is now listed as ‘1b306(i) tocopherol extracts from vegetable oils’ and 1b 306(ii) tocopherol extracts from vegetable oils (delta rich)’ , ‘E2 iodine’ which now also includes potassium iodide, coated granulated calcium iodate anhydrous as well as calcium iodate anhydrous and ‘E3 cobalt’ now also includes cobalt(II) acetate tetrahydrate, cobalt (II) carbonate hydroxide (2:3)monohydrate and coated granulated cobalt(II) carbonate.
  • New substances have been reviewed against organic objectives and principles to allow new products to be used in organic feed production. New feed additives now allowed for organic feed production include selenised yeast, dicopper chloride trihydroxide (TBCC) and zinc choloride hydroxide monohydrate (TBZC).

For the full list of changes refer to Annex II of the amendment document (web link).

Aquaculture

  • Where organic juveniles and shellfish seed are not available in sufficient quantities, up to 50% non-organic juveniles can be introduced into organic production units until 31 December 2016. This is an extension of 12 months.

An exception has been included for aquaculture animals, as with terrestrial livestock, to allow the use of non-organic replacement stock, in the case of high mortality caused by natural disasters, adverse climatic events, sudden water quality and quantity changes which are out of  the control of the operator, disease, failure or destruction of production facilities that was out of the control of the operator. Any stock bought in are still required to go through the appropriate conversion period.

Micro Algae

·         There are already detailed production rules for seaweed included in the organic regulation and this amendment clarifies that they will also apply to micro algae for further use as food from 29th April 2017.

 

Food additives and processing aids

  • The list of food additives and processing aids allowed in the organic regulation has been reviewed and amended in line with horizontal legislation covering food additives and processing aids. The system is simplified so that the conditions of use, authorisations and purity criteria for substances are the same as those in the general legislation for food additives and processing aids unless specific restrictions apply for organic production . For example, this means that kaolin has been removed as it was only authorised until 31 January 2014. There are a number of substances for which the conditions of use have changed which can be reviewed in Annex III of the amendment document (web link).
  • Lecithin must be organic from 1st January 2019.
  • Beeswax and carnauba wax must be organic (used as additives or processing aids)
  • Vegetable oils and potato starch used as processing aids must be organic.
  • New substances have been reviewed against organic objectives and principles to allow new products to be used as additives in organic food production. These include beeswax (E901), carnuba wax (E903), gellan gum (E418) and Erythritol (E968).
  • New substances have been reviewed against organic objectives and principles to allow new products to be used as processing aids in organic food production. These include acetic acid/vinegar, thiamine hydrochloride, diammonium phosphate, sodium carbonate and wood fibre.

 

Wine production

  • The deadline to review and re-evaluate  some oenological practices, processes and treatments with a view to phase out or further restrict their use, has been extended by three years from 1 August 2015.

To allow time for changes that may be required in recipes and production methods as a result of these amendments they will only apply from 29th October 2016.

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