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Identifying Organic Logos

By Maria Stevens, January 2010

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Different Organic Certification Organizations:

–Irish Organic Farmers and Growers Association – www.iofga.ie * Good choice

Ireland’s leading organic certification body, est. 1982.

The original organic certification body of Ireland, with exceptionally high standards. Committed to the grass roots vision of organic meat and agriculture. Highly respected.

Approved by the following governmental bodies: Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Food (DAFF, IRE), and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs(DEFRA, UK). Approved by European Commission (EC).

Standards are not available for public viewing.

–Organic Trust – www.organic-trust.org * Great choice

Irish Certification, est. 1991.

Established ten years after the IOFGA, as a non-profit organization; aimed particularly at certifying Irish food products, manufacturers, and their facilities. Their very high standards are the basis for nationally and internationally respected quality marks for organic food products. Standards available online at http://www.organic-trust.org/pdfs/standards.pdf. The Organic Trust promotes and emphasizes sustainable food production models, rather than models that fall merely within the criteria of organic.

Approved by DAFF (IRE), DEFRA, EC.

–Soil Association www.soilassociation.org * Top choice


Established in 1946, as a charity association in the UK. Remains so, to this day, with no government influence.

First official standards drawn up in 1967. Certifications began in 1973.

Exceptionally high standards, written in very specific terms. Available to the public at http://www.soilassociation.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=z0H2T3JIwPQ%3d&tabid=353.

Approved by DEFRA, EC.

–Organic Food Federation – http://www.orgfoodfed.com/index.html*Great choice

Established in 1986, in the UK, possibly to compete with the Soil Association. Carries out audits for the EC and USDA (United States Department of Agriculture).

High standards, available to the public at http://www.orgfoodfed.com/Our%20Standards.htm

Website clearly states that the Organic Food Federation is used by United States and European Council to accredit organic products. It is a non-profit organization, and though is often used by governing bodies, still maintains its separate high standards independently of these entities.

–European Union Organic Farmers –http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/organic/information-farmers_en * If the EC logo appears alone, consumers should assume the product conforms to the lowest organic standards.

Officiated in 1991 by the European Commission to encourage the growth of the organic sector.

Standards available at http://www.defra.gov.uk/foodfarm/growing/organic/standards/pdf/guidance-document-dec2008.pdf

EC inspections are carried out by the Department of Agriculture, Food, and Fisheries (DAFF), the members of which often seek the services of the aforementioned certifying bodies.

The EC logo is not immediately recognized by any of the aforementioned organic organizations, due to looser regulations, the most notable of which is the permission of up to 0.9% GMO content in an organic product (to account of contamination).[1]

Consumers should be aware that as of January 2010, all domestic certified organic products must also include the EC logo on their packaging. This legislation favors inferior organic products by promoting widespread visual recognition of the EC logo, which may lead consumers to equate its value with the logos of other superior organic bodies.[2]


[1] See http://www.foeeurope.org/GMOs/publications/Biotech_February06.pdf

[2] “The use of the EU logo serves to confer specific value to the products to which it is applied. No claim may be made on the label or advertising material that suggests to the purchaser that the product label is a guarantee of superior organoleptic, nutritional or salubrious quality.” – Organic Trust (oranoleptic: affecting organs, particularly sense organs; salubrious: good for health)

This logo represents a government body, which implies that current and future regulations are subject to lobbyists—that is, individuals who push their interests and influences into governing bodies, often to bend or change current legislation in their favor.


 

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