Select Committee on European Communities Second Report - Written Evidence




  Organic production must take place on clearly defined areas of land which are subject to rigorous inspection and certification by approved Organic Sector Bodies. Organic Sector Bodies are licensed by the United Kingdom Register of Organic Food Standards (UKROFS) which is the UK Certifying Authority under EU Council Regulation (EEC No. 2092/91, as amended). Inspection and certification may also be undertaken directly by UKROFS.

  The purpose of inspection and certification procedures is to ensure compliance with organic standards.

  In the UK standards for the production of organic crops must comply with EU Council Regulation (EEC No. 2092/91) and with UKROFS standards for Organic Food Production. Approved Organic Sector Bodies may also set additional and/or more rigorous standards. Procedures registered with the Soil Association and licensed to use its organic certification symbol must comply with the Standards for Organic Food and Farming 1987 (as amended).


EU Regulation

  Council Regulation (EEC No. 2092/91) is currently being amended to include reference to genetically modified organisms in crop production. This is being undertaken in tandem with the process of including standards for organic livestock production within the EU Regulations. The latest position is set out in the Presidency Draft Working Papers SN 1565/98 (Articles) and SN 1248/98 (the Annex) as most recently amended by Addendum 8697/98. In drafting amendments to the Regulation Council Working Group members have regard to the view of the EU Commission that:

  The Commission accepted amendments aiming for a general prohibition of the use of genetically modified organisms and products derived therefrom in the production and processing of organic products.

  In relation to the production, advertising and labelling of organic crops and products this general prohibition has been introduced by the following points in the latest Presidency Draft of the supplementing Regulation (EEC No. 2092/91:

9th Recital

    Whereas genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and products derived therefrom are not compatible with the organic production methods; whereas, in order to maintain consumer confidence in organic production genetically modified organisms, parts thereof and producers derived therefrom must not be used in products labelled as from organic production.

Article 1(2) 2b 12

    Genetically modified organism shall mean any organism as defined in Article 2 of the Council Directive (EEC) 220/90 of 23 April 1990 on the deliberate release into the environment of genetically modified organisms.

Article 5(3)

    The labelling and advertising of a product specified in Article 1(1)(b) may bear indications referring to organic methods in the sales description of the product only where: (h) the product does not contain genetically modified organisms and/or any products derived from such organisms.

Article 5(5)

    Products labelled or advertised in accordance with paragraphs 1 or 3 may bear indications referring to conversion to organic production methods, provided that:

    (f) The product does not contain genetically modified organisms and/or any products derived from such organisms.

Article 5(5a)

    Without prejudice to the provisions of paragraph 3 the labelling and advertising of a product as referred to in Article 1(1)(b) may only bear indications referring to organic production methods where:

    (i) The product does not contain genetically modified organisms and/or products derived from such organisms.

Article 6(1)

    The organic production method implies that for the purposes of products referred to in Article 1(1)(a) other than seeds and vegetative propagating material:

    (d) Genetically modified organisms and products derived from such organisms must not be used.


UKROFS standards

II 1.4

  The UKROFS board have determined that Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) have no place in organic production systems. (For a definition of GMOs in this context see Chapter III, Section 10, Annex IA of UKROFS standards.)

II 4.15

  In accordance with the principles of organic production set out in section 1 of this Chapter, plants which have been genetically modified must not be used in organic production.


  1. Recombinant DNA techniques using vector systems as previously covered by Council Recommendation 82/472/EEC;

  2. Techniques involving the direct introduction into an organism of heritable material prepared outside the organism including micro-injection, macro injection and micro encapsulation;

  3. Cell fusion (including protoplast fusion) or hybridisation techniques where live cells with new combinations of heritable genetic material are formed through the fusion of two or more cells by means of methods that do not occur naturally.

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