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Organic labeling regulation change 'offers opportunities': spiritsEUROPE

By Ben Bouckley+

23-Apr-2014

Organic vodka from the UK, circa. 2008
Organic vodka from the UK, circa. 2008

spiritsEUROPE insists that laws on production and labeling of organic products including spirits present opportunities for small to medium-sized distillers in particular to better cater for consumer needs.

EU legislation on organic production and labeling of organic products was published by the European Commission on March 25, and spirits will be included, subject to ethyl alcohol used for their production being exclusively of agricultural origin.

spiritsEUROPE said that there are now 'organic spirits' in most of the major categories, including vodka, whisky, gin and tequila, adding that it "remained to be seen" whether the forthcoming legislation would mean they had to rejig production processes or labeling. 

"What is clear is that improving the legislation can offer additional opportunities, notably for medium and small distilleries in our regions to develop products meeting consumers’ expectations for organic food," the trade body said in its April newsletter.

As highlighted by the Commision, production rules do not sufficiently take into account evolving consumer and citizen concerns and expectations, spiritsEUROPE said.

"Labeling rules are complicated and there are weaknesses in control systems.  The legislation is complex and entails a high level of administrative burden which is stopping small farmers from joining the Union's organic scheme.  Some of the exemptions that were needed for the development of the sector no longer seem to be justified," the trade body explained.

The proposals aim to improve legislation on organic production by (1) removing obstacles to the sustainable development of organic production in the Union, (2) guaranteeing fair competition for farmers and operators and allowing the internal market to function more efficiently, and (3) maintaining or improving consumer confidence in organic products.

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