Consumer Assurance and EU Control Bodies

Consumer Assurance and EU Control Bodies

​Organic farmers, processors and importers have to comply with stri​ct regulations if they want to use the EU organic logo or la​belling​ or equivalent national distinctions. To ensure they satisfy these regulations, an equally strict inspection system has to be in place.

These inspections have to be performed at every stage in the organic farming supply chain, allowing the consumer to be confident that when buying organic food, each product has been produced according to strict European and National Legislations aiming at respecting the environment and animal welfare and inspected accordingly.


Inspections:

Each EU Member State has designated a number of public authorities and/or approved private inspection bodies to carry out the inspections. All inspection bodies or inspection authorities act under the supervision or in close cooperation with the central competent authorities of the Member States. This process is supervised by each EU Member State, which is responsible for establishing an inspection system with competent authorities to ensure adherence to the obligations established in the organic Regulation.

  • They have to be accredited under the EU's General requirements for bodies operating product certification systems
  • They have to be approved by the Member States' competent authority
  • They have to be objective vis-à-vis the operators subject to their inspections


Code numbers of control bodies and control authorities:

Whenever the EU organic logo is used on the product, it always has to be accompanied by the code number of the control body or authority to which the operator who has carried out the most recent production or preparation operation is subject.

The general format of the code number is MT-ORG-001, where MT is the ISO code of the country (Malta) where the control takes place, ORG is a term establishing a link with the organic production, such as "bio" or "org" or "eko/eco" and 001 is a reference number.

Member States attribute a code number to each organic control body and authority they have approved to operate on their territory. One should find this code number on every organic label. The code number is a sign that the product has been inspected by the control body or authority which guarantees it was produced or processed in accordance with the organic Regulation.

Please find here the latest list of EU control bodies and authorities​ with their code numbers.

On imported products, it is an obligation to mention the code number of the control body or authority only if the EU organic logo is used. The European Commission is in charge of attribution of code numbers to control bodies and authorities performing inspections outside the EU.

Please find here:

The list of third countries and the list of control authorities and control bodies that have been recognised under Article 33(2) and (3) of Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 for the purpose of importing organic products into the Union as per Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/2325​



Certification:

Individuals/ companies who operate in trading of organic products are required to be certified as an organic operator in order to be able sell or market organic products, in accordance with Subsidiary Legislation 427.93 on Organic Production and Labelling of Organic Products: 

Article 8. (2) No operator shall produce, process, prepare, sell or market any product labelled as organic unless this operator has obtained the relevant certification from the competent authority, control authority or control body as indicated by the competent authority.

All food producers, processors or traders who wish to market their food as organic need to be registered with a control authority or body in order to obtain the organic certification. Their premises and production methods have to be inspected and acknowledged by the control body or authority. Organic farms also have to undergo a conversion period, before they can sell their products as organic.

The organic certification differs according to each type of operator and their operations and so when applying for the certification, you need to select the type of operator and the organic operations carried out by your company, which you can find through the Control Authority’s link​.


Infringements and irregularities:

In the event that an operator is found to have infringed the requirements of the organic regulations and the inspection regime, the inspection authority or body shall take the necessary measures in accordance with the Catalogue of Measures​ to ensure compliance with the pertinent regulations.

Where irregularities occur in only one batch of a production run, the inspection authority or body ensures that the references, indications and logos referring to the organic production method are not used on that batch.​

 

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