New implementing Regulation – changes to the Organic Control System in EU

EU lighthouseThe European Commission published on April 30th, 2013 the new implementing regulation (EU) 392/2013 which affects the Organic Control System in the European Union. The new implementing regulation inserts new elements in the control system aiming at further securing the efficiency of controls and the organic integrity of the certified products. The most significant changes can be summarized to the following points:

  • Further commitments for producers and operations regarding exchange of information

Operators subject to the organic control system accept that control authorities and control bodies shall exchange information to safeguard the system. They also accept to inform control bodies and competent authorities whenever their products or products received by subcontractors and other operators are not in line with the requirements of the EU Regulations for organic production. Whenver an operator leaves a control body for another one, his “control file” is also transmitted to the subsequent control body. Control files are kept for at least 5 years after an operator withdraws from the control system.

  • Control bodies shall base part of their annual program of controls on a risk analysis

All control bodies in the European Union shall schedule their annual controls based on a documented risk analysis, involving all operations under their control scheme.  The controls shall cover at least a 10% of the total number of operators for each control body.

  • Controls are increasing in number and intensity for every Member – State

Control Bodies are obligated to carry out samplings and laboratory analyses for the use of non-permitted substances for organic farming. Laboratory analyses shall correspond to at least 5% of the total number of operators for each control body. Besides the 5% that is based on a risk based program, control bodies shall also take samples for analysis whenever there is reason to believe that a not authorized technique or substance has been applied to organic products. Moreover, additional random control visits shall take place while the control bodies shall ensure that at least 10% of controls each year shall be unannounced.

  • Exchange of information between control authorities and bodies for consumer protection

Control bodies shall have to draft documented procedures for exchanging information with other control bodies and control authorities. Exchange of information is not limited between control bodies from one Member – State but it shall be horizontal throughout EU. All control authorities are also obligated to inform each other and the European Commission without delay whenever they find non-compliant products bearing indications related to the organic farming method.

  • Catalogue of measures in case of infringements and irregularities

Control authorities shall adopt and communicate to control bodies a catalogue listing all infringements and irregularities affecting the organic status of products and corresponding measures to be applied by control bodies in case of infringements or irregularities by operators under their control who are involved in organic production. This will ensure that control bodies evaluate non-conformities against the EU regulations and take certification decisions in a unified way.

  • Member – States shall publish data relating to operators subject to the organic control system

Control Authorities shall publish in an appropriate manner documentary evidence for all operators subject to the organic control system. The information will be publicly accessible, including publication on the internet, while protecting individuals (producers) with regard to the processing and exchange of personal data.

The new implementing Regulation shall apply from January 1st, 2014.

You may download the Regulation (EU) 392/2013 from our European Regulations page.

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