MOIT VIETNAM | The EU applies new rules for imported organic products

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The EU applies new rules for imported organic products

15th December 2020 post by MOIT Vietnam

From 1 January 2021, entities that export organic products to the countries of the European Union (EU) will have to comply with a new set of rules set by the EU.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, as of 1 January 2021, the EU will not accept various organic standards that are recognized as equivalent to the EU standards. Instead, organic producers have to adopt a new set of EU rules that replace the equivalent rules. Specifically, the new rule will have a more homogeneous method to reduce the risk of contamination from pesticides accidentally.

Preventive measures will also be tighter and high risk-based testing along the entire supply chain will improve the control system. Inspection of low-risk farms and facilities will take place every 24 months, instead of every 12 months today. However, member states will adopt their own national procedures if banned substances are found on organic products.

Besides, new regulations define the relationship with land as a basic principle. This means that soil ecosystems will remain one of the basic requirements of organic production. However, some crops will be exceptions. For example, sprouting seed production, does not require soil related farming changes.

At the same time, group certification is no longer limited to smallholder farmers from developing countries and will be granted to small EU producers.


The new regulation on organic products will apply to unprocessed and processed agricultural products used for food and animal feed. Processed products can only be labeled organic when at least 95% of the agricultural ingredients are organic.

MOIT said, the new regulations will be fair for European agricultural producers. But small organic producers (grain, bean and oilseed products) in developing countries may not be able to meet the requirement.

Organic producers in developing countries face different challenges compared to European producers. Many cereal crops, seeds and oilseeds in developing countries are produced on a large scale in the subtropics (soybean, sesame, chia seeds). Others are marginal and poor (quinoa, millet fonio). These regions will have different climatic problems and plant diseases. Standards for infrastructure, water quality and performance cannot be compared with those of the average European farmer.

At the same time, another issue of concern for manufacturers in developing countries is fraud. This is fairly common for some healthier products like chia seeds. Organic food certification and accreditation has become a business. Manufacturers do not believe that the new rules will change this.

Finally, according to the Vietnam deal in Sweden, to be a supplier of organic grains, beans and oilseeds to Europe, producers must have a truly organic mindset.