The new EU Organic Regulation
The first EU Organic Regulation came into force in 1992 and was revised initially in 2007. This resulted in the organic legislation currently in place. In 2014, a second review of organic legislation was initiated, with many regulations outdated and no longer appropriate, hindering rather than promoting the growing organic market.
EU Organic Regulation (EU 2018/848)
The drafting of "new" organic legislation proved to be difficult. Intensive negotiations lasted more than three years before the EU member states were able to agree on a proposal. The new EU Organic Regulation (EU 2018/848) was finally published in June 2018. This regulation forms the basis of new EU legislation and is still incomplete. As the new EU organic legislation will apply from January 2021, additional rules in the form of delegated acts will need to be adopted by then to complete the new EU organic legislation.(1)
What innovations does the new EU organic legislation bring? (2,3)
  • Principles and goals are more modern and include sustainability and regionality.
  • The concept of organic plant breeding is defined for the first time. This aims to improve genetic diversity and the use of resistant and adaptable varieties.
  • Progress in animal welfare with regard to species-specific behavioural needs, such as rules on exercise.
  • Establishing a list of authorised detergents and disinfectants.
  • Stricter risk-based controls on the supply chain.
  • Alignment of imports with EU law (expiry of the equivalence model).
  • The enrichment of organic baby food, infant formula and follow-on formula with vitamins and minerals remains permitted and is now defined in the Organic Regulation.
  • All companies along the value chain must take proportionate and appropriate precautions within their sphere of influence to avoid contamination with unauthorised products.
Written by Rebecca Näf