IFOAM on Draft Regulation on a Community scheme
by Redaktion (comments: 0)
Francis Blake, President of the IFOAM EU Group, has written a letter to Benjamin Caspar, the Head of EU Ecolabel Team in Brussels, commenting on the regulation proposal on the Community Ecolabelling scheme (COM (2008) 401/3). The importance of having such a tool is seen, but strong concerns towards the proposal for extending the scope of the ECO-label to include processed foods and products from aquaculture are raised due to various reasons: EU-Regulation 834/2007 on organic production and labelling reserves the terms “bio, eco and organic” and similar descriptions for “real” organic products. ƒnIFOAM fears that the Ecolabel will also cause consumers to wrongly presume that products bearing the Ecolabel are organic.
The proposed Ecolabelling scheme is said to most likely cause problems at international level (WTO), as this proposition does not respect the internationally agreed Codex Alimentarius Guidelines for the production, processing, labelling and marketing of organically produced foods (GL 32-1999, rev 2007). Consequently, only organically produced and processed food can use the term “eco” in labelling. ƒnIFOAM sees the proposed concept for registration and control as insufficient, since this system is not fulfilling the basic requirements for certification of labelling schemes as the industry is otherwise used to.
If it from a legal point of view should prove possible to place the Ecolabel on processed food and aquaculture products, it should only be acceptable for products produced in line with (EC) No 834/2007 as an additional voluntary label, besides the obligatory organic EU-logo. Using an Ecolabel on conventional products will lead to a complete confusion of consumers in Europe, according to IFOAM. In the letter it is concluded that the Ecolabel would be the wrong tool to use as a lever for encouraging the sustainable production and consumption of food products. IFOAM calls to support amendments to the Commission’s proposal that ensure that the Eco-label will not be granted to processed foods and aquaculture products. Suggestions for amendments to the Proposal COM (2008) 401/3) along with relevant paragraphs from the organic regulation and Codex Alimentarius are included in the Annex of the letter.
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