The EU organic logo is now obligatory on all pre-packaged organic food products produced in EU Member States which meet the necessary standards, however the logo remains optional for non-packed and imported organic products. The ‘Euro-leaf’ logo was introduced in July 2010, with a two-year transition period to assist the industry in adapting packaging to meet the new rules and to avoid wasting existing packaging.
The logo – made up of 12 stars in the shape of a leaf – is designed to provide consumers with “complete confidence” that the goods they purchase are produced in line with EU organic farming regulations, said the European Commission.
“Our hope is that the EU logo can further develop into a widely recognised symbol of organic food production across the EU, providing consumers with confidence that the goods are produced in line with the strict EU organic farming standards”, according to EU Commissioner for Agriculture & Rural Development Dacian Cioloş.
As of now, all pre-packaged foods on the market in the European Union must now carry the logo.
The consumption of organic products within the EU has seen a steady rise in recent years, now accounting for roughly 2% of the European market.
As a result, production of organic certified foods and food ingredients has increased considerably in the past decade – with roughly 5% of EU agricultural area and more than 2% of farms now certified as organic.
Where used, the organic logo must be accompanied by an indication of the place where the agricultural raw materials were farmed – stating that raw materials originate from 'EU Agriculture', 'non-EU Agriculture' or 'EU/non-EU Agriculture'.
If all raw materials have been farmed in only one country, the name of this specific country, in or outside the EU, can be indicated instead.
National, regional, or private labels will be allowed to appear on packaging alongside the common EU logo.
Under the EU’s new regulations, products can only be labelled as organic if:
- At least 95% of the product's ingredients of agricultural origin have been organically produced;
- The product complies with the rules of the official inspection scheme;
- The product has come directly from the producer or preparer in a sealed package;
- The product bears the name of the producer, the preparer or vendor and the name or code of the inspection body
- The product does not contain GMOs