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European Union: New Labeling Rules and EU Organic Logo Adopted

(July 9, 2010) July 1, 2010, marked the entrance into force of new rules adopted by the European Union on organic food labeling, along with the mandatory display of a new organic logo, the “Euro-leaf.” The new logo, which displays the stars derived from the EU flag in the shape of a leaf against a green background, has been registered by the European Commission as a collective trade mark. The logo must be on all pre-packaged food products that comply with the necessary criteria and are produced in any EU Member State. National, private, or regional logos will continue to be displayed, along with the Euro-leaf. Use of the Euro-leaf is optional for non-packaged and imported (non-EU Member State) organic products.

The new labeling rules also require the indication on the product of the place of the farm that produced the product's ingredients and the code number of the supervisory body. The new rules must be implemented by businesses within a two-year transitional period.

Organic aquaculture of fish, shellfish, and seaweed is also covered by these new labeling rules. In 2008, the organic aquaculture industry in the EU included 123 certified operations, out of a total of 225 such farms worldwide. Five EU Member States are the top producers of aquaculture in the EU, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. The new rules establish standards for the aquatic production environment and the separation of organic and non-organic production units. The new rules require respect for biodiversity. In addition, the induced spawning created through artificial hormones is not allowed for those operations wanting the organic designation.

Commenting on the significance of the new labeling rules, the EU Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Maria Damanaki, stated:

The EU is the biggest market in the world for seafood and it is fitting that Europe should play a leading role in establishing comprehensive rules in this domain. Among the priorities for my term are sustainability and social cohesion for the fishing and aquaculture sectors. These new rules for organic aquaculture are a milestone by integrating these priorities into aquaculture.

(Press Release, IP/10/861, New EU Labelling Rules Including New EU Organic Logo Come into Force on 1 July (June 30, 2010), RAPID,