Europe shares organic food products produced with respect to clean and well-preserved environment, natural and cultural heritage, European food quality and organic production traditions.

Organic farming involves growing techniques and methods that seek to protect the environment, humans, and animals, through sustainable agriculture. Producers of organic farming are not allowed to use anything but biological substances for both fertilization and crop protection. As fertilization methods, they mainly use manure, compost, or special organic synthetic fertilizers. As crop protection measures, they mostly use traps and natural predators. This farming method requires a lot of effort and has significantly lower yields than conventional farming.

EU definition of organic farming

Organic production means a sustainable agricultural system respecting the environment and animal welfare, but also includes all other stages of the food supply chain.

The organic control system

Every country in the European Union appoints a ‘competent authority’ who is ultimately responsible for making sure that EU organics rules are followed. Usually these are either a department of agriculture or a department of public health.

Once a year, EU countries report to the European Commission on the results of the controls carried out on organic operators and on the measures taken in case of non-compliance.

EU rules for production

The EU regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products ensures that the same high quality standards are respected all over the EU. The rules refer to agriculture and aquaculture farming practices, food processing and labelling, certification procedures for farmers as well as to the import of non-EU organic products.
Organic farmers in the EU use energy and natural resources in a responsible way, promote animal health and contribute to maintaining biodiversity, ecological balance and water/soil quality.

Organic farming practices in the EU include:

• Crop rotation for an efficient use of resources
• A ban of the use of chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilisers
• Very strict limits on livestock antibiotics
• Ban of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
• Use of on-site resources for natural fertilisers and animal feed
• Raising livestock in a free-range, open-air environment and the use of organic fodder
• Tailored animal husbandry practices

Organic labelling and logo

The EU’s organic logo on food products guarantees that EU rules on organic production have been respected. It is compulsory for pre-packaged food. In the case of processed food, it means that at least 95% of the ingredients of agricultural origin are organic. Super markets and other retailers can label their products with the term organic only if they comply with the rules.

Main points of the rules

The EU is working on an update of existing rules on organic production and labelling in response to major changes that have transformed the sector. Proposed alterations include:
• Stricter controls: all operators throughout the food supply chain (farmers, breeders, processors, traders, importers) are checked at least once a year.
• Fairer competition: producers from non-EU countries who want to sell their products in the EU need to comply with the same rules as producers in the EU.
• Prevention of contamination with pesticides: farmers must take precautionary measures to avoid accidental contamination with non-authorised pesticides or fertilisers. A product loses its organic status if the contamination is due to fraud or negligent behaviour. EU countries that have thresholds for non-authorised substances in organic food can continue applying them, but they must allow other organic foods from other EU countries in their markets. The European Commission will assess the anti-contamination rules in 2025.
• Better supply of organic seeds and animals: a computer database on the availability of organic seeds and animals is set up in every EU country.
• Mixed farms: farmers are allowed to produce conventional products in addition to organic ones, but need to clearly separate their farming activities.
• Certification procedures for small farmers are made easier.
• New products such as salt, cork and essential oils are included. Others can be added later on.

Assortment of organic products:

• Ready to eat soups
• Canned mushrooms and vegetables
• Canned pulses
• Eggs
• Lactose free milk drink
• Long-term milk
• Fresh mushrooms and vegetables
• Rapeseed oil
• Flour
• Wholegrain oat flakes
• Oatmeal with fruits and berries
• Freeze dried berries (

Legal information:

Organic production and labelling of organic products and repealing

Organic production and labelling of organic products with regard to organic production, labelling and control

Rules on organic aquaculture animal and seaweed production