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BNN: "We're doing organics because we don’t want pesticides in the environment!"

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On 24 March 2014, the EU Commission presented a proposal for a new EU organic regulation. The Commission proposed a so-called "principle-based" revision of the tried and tested legal framework, figuratively speaking leaving no stone unturned. "After 1000 days (December 17, 2016) and 143 weeks of negotiations at European and national level, the current proposal with its  level of compromise remains far removed from reality and poorly crafted in many points. As a result the revision has reached a deadlock", writes the BNN, the German Federation of Natural Food Natural Products,

"In principle, a total revision implies that all links with existing law, all processes in administration, control and delivery have to be adjusted nationally and internationally. The complexity of the task, which is now reflected in the 800-page four-column negotiation document, has been underestimated. More of the same does not solve the problems", writes the BNN. "I see the BNN's view confirmed that the total revision should be withdrawn in favour of improvement of the tried and tested existing organic regulation.  The negotiation marathon was a good thing: the starting points for the improvement of the existing organic regulation have been recognized", explains Elke Röder, managing director of the Federal Association Naturkost Naturwaren (BNN) e.V.

But BNN criticizes the central content, which would be detrimental to organic farming in Europe as well as in the global south. As the negotiations currently stand, the latter would have to implement the organic regulation with inadequate adaptation, rather than as it currently is - appropriate organic regulations are adapted to the local conditions are used. The monitoring of such regulations is also crucial; this cannot be outsourced. With 28 member states, there is a need for central monitoring of the import regime. To this end, the Commission must make resources available. Another criticism by the Federal Association of Natural Food Natural Products of the unrealistic demands of the commission is the fact that the farmers are not able to protect their plants from industrial contamination and residues from synthetic chemical pesticides from conventional agriculture and forestry. Such residues are already widespread in trace amounts in the environment.

"We have to say very clearly: we farm organically because we do not want pesticides in the environment which can then be detected in food," Elke Röder emphasizes. "This is why the European organic sector is absolutely the wrong industry to approach when it comes to the prevention of pollutants or pesticides, since these are not used in organic farming. As long as this is not understood, the revision remains deadlocked. In addition, uncertainties for industry and consumers alike result from a completely new formulation and new structure of fundamental rights which must be adhered to nationally, in the EU and internationally”.

Background:

BNN, the Federation of Natural Food Natural Products, represents the companies of the natural food and natural products sector. The association adopts special quality guidelines for the natural food trade, which go beyond the legal requirements for organic products. In 2015, natural food specialist retail sales in Germany of organic food and natural cosmetics totalled €3.04 billion.


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