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Germany: Certifier Ecocert called to adjust standard for detergents and cleaning agents

by Leo Frühschütz (comments: 1)

Woman has two kinds of detergent in her hand.
Symbol picture © Shutterstock/Stokkete

The international certifier Ecocert must further develop its standard for detergents and cleaning agents (DCA). Otherwise, DCA products with Ecocert certification will soon no longer be permitted according to the assortment guidelines of the German organic specialist trade.

Why Ecocert needs to adapt its DCA standard

In its DCA standard, Ecocert permits enzymes produced by genetically modified microorganisms. Only the substrate from which the microorganisms feed must be GMO-free. A number of ingredients of petrochemical origin are also permitted.

Nevertheless, Ecocert certification for DCA has so far been recognised in the assortment guidelines (AGL) supported by the Federal Association Natural Food Natural Products (Ger.: Bundesverband Naturkost Naturwaren, BNN) and Natural Food South (Ger.: Naturkost Süd), as have the standards of Austria Bio Garantie, Ecocarantie and Nature Care Product.

Transition period until the end of 2022

In December 2018, the steering committee responsible for the development of the AGL decided to not further recognise the Ecocert standard and to tolerate it only until the end of 2022. The steering committee calls on the certifier to further develop its standard during this transitional period.

"By the end of 2022 at the latest, Ecocert must further reduce the possibilities for the replacement of (partially) petrochemical ingredients and prescribe the elimination of enzymes produced by genetically modified microorganisms, so that products with these labels can continue to be sold in the organic food trade," writes Cornelia Dressler of the BNN.

What manufacturers need to consider now

According to the directive, manufacturers who continue to use the Ecocert seal during this period must provide complete proof that the enzymes used were produced without genetic engineering and document this on the packaging. It also requires Ecocert to report annually by 30th June on the development steps taken to replace (partially) petrochemical ingredients. In addition to the nature-identical preservatives permitted in natural cosmetics, the other standards only allow the bleach activator TAED and polyaspartates as complexing agents. Ecocert has been much more generous so far.

Currently, numerous products from Almawin/Klar, Ecover and Sodasan bear the Ecocert seal, often in addition to the Ecogarantie seal.

 

Please also read:

Please also read:

Genetic engineering in natural cosmetics?

Biotechnologically produced ingredients for cosmetics are widely used today. Also in the production of components for natural cosmetics. Where are the limits to genetic engineering, what are the regulations and what do consumers expect?

EU scientific advisors call for changing the genetic engineering law

The scientific advisors to the EU Commission have presented a paper in which they urge the Commission to change genetic engineering legislation. Some European and German politicians agree.

Organic companies sign open letter to EU Commission

Against genetic engineering: 75 companies have sent an open letter to the EU Commission. These include many organic companies as well as conventional ones.


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Comment by The Ecocert Group |

The Ecocert Group wishes to clarify a few points with regards to this article :

The title of this article suggests that we may have been unreferenced on the overall German organic retail market which is not correct. Ecocert is still listed in the BNN guide and will be accepted until at least 2022.

In order to raise consumer awareness, we believe it would be essential to provide accurate and relevant information including an in-depth comparison between the requirements of each eco-label currently on the German market.

The Ecocert Natural Detergent standard is one of the strictest eco-friendly labels
Our standard was created in consultation with stakeholders such as manufacturers, distributors but also consumers. Our main objective is to certify environmentally-friendly detergents, by promoting the use of natural origin ingredients, including organic ingredients where possible. Our standard’s requirements have been developed with a view to minimising the environmental impact of the products we certify. This had an influence on all the choices we have made with the industry. This standard has been recognised internationally and valued for over 10 years thanks to its strict requirements.

Ecocert is also the only ISO 17065 accredited body for natural/organic detergents thus providing clients and consumers with substantial guarantees through independent audits and the delivery of certifications.

Referring back to the guidelines, focusing simply on two criteria and excluding all other requirements cannot serve as a basis for qualifying the thoroughness of any kind of certification process

Our professional label and the high level of our environmental requirements have been recognised not only in France by the ADEME (French Environment & Energy Management Agency) in a recently released report on accredited and trustworthy labels, but also in Germany by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie) as well as internationally through organic retailers’ networks and consumer studies.

Last but not least, Ecocert has always been transparent on its standard’s requirements, which are available from our website. This standard is subject to change and every time we are consulted, we always provide all the necessary explanations and technical support in this field.



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