© European Commission
The BLE supervises the implementation of the European Union's regulations for organic farming and organic food. It is also responsible for the German quality seal Bio-Siegel and for the information system organic-standards.info.
The BLE gives licences to the contral bodies which insure the compliance with the requirements of the European Union's Eco Regulation in organic farming and food production. The BLE is also responsible for the Bio-Siegel information service which provides detailed information on the German quality seal for organic products and assures its nation-wide proliferation and prominence. With the new information system organic.standards.info, a platform has been implemented where various international standards for the production of organic products are presented.
In addition, the Federal programme for organic farming and other forms of sustainable agriculture is assigned to the BLE. The programme aims at a long-term improvement of the framework conditions for organic farming and informs farmers, processors, trade and the general public about the advantages of organic forms of production and processing.
Information system organic-standards.info
The market for organic products is increasing worldwide. Legal standards are intended to assure the consumer that a product is produced according to specific organic criteria. Accordingly, the number of these standards is also increasing worldwide. Only a few countries have recognized the standard of another country as equivalent. Consequently, the harmonization or recognition of two standards still is very rare.
Therefore, accreditation and certification bodies as well as farmers, processors, and traders often enough do not get the information they need. Which differences exist between the standards of individual countries? What does e.g. the EU legislation state with regard to the period of conversion? What does the US standard require? Which additives are permitted, and which are forbidden? The investigation of these differences is often a very arduous and time-consuming task.
The Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE) is currently establishing the online information system organic-standards.info. The purpose of the information system is to increase the transparency with regard to the different national and international organic control standards. The internet database provides free access to the complete texts of various organic standards for certification (EU Legislation on Organic Farming, National Organic Program - NOP, Codex Alimentarius for Organic Food). Apart from the whole text search through one or several organic standards, the user can also employ the system for a keyword search. The result list allows the user to analyse the requirements of different standards and compare them.
Registered users can work with the results of their search, save them as notes and forward the link to third parties or publish them. Using the software and its contents does not require a license. The maintenance and further development of the information system can be performed easily. There is the possibility to include additional organic standards or further languages.