New organic product logo

22 April 2010

Sara Sparring, Anders Hellström

On 1 July 2010, it will become compulsory to mark all pre-packaged organic products from the EU Member States with a certain organic logo. In anticipation of this, the European Commission held an online design competition, open to arts students across the EU, in order to let the citizens of the EU elect the logo to be used. Out of 3,500 designs, three designs were initially chosen by an international expert jury, consisting of experts on organic farming as well as design professionals, to go on to the final selection, which was open to the public. During the two months of the contest, which ended on 31 January, approximately 130,000 EU citizens voted and in February this year the winning contribution was announced - the “Euro-leaf”.

The logo, which received 63% of the votes, was designed by German art student Dusan Milenkovic and is described in the EU Commission press release as being a very straightforward sign containing two clear messages: Nature and Europe.

In order to be labelled with the logo, a product must meet certain standards for organic products, as set out in the council regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products[1]. Amongst other things, this means that no less than 95% of a product’s ingredients must be organic, the product may not contain any GMO based ingredients and it may not be radiated.

As a main rule, companies wishing to label goods as organic must apply to one of the approved control organs. In Sweden however, companies are under certain conditions exempt from that obligation. The exception applies to companies selling organic products to end consumers, provided that they do not store, produce, prepare or import organic products from a third country or sell and store unpackaged organic products or conventional products of the same kind. There are various national control organs authorised to certify products and them being labelled with the organic logo, and in Sweden these are Aranea Certifiering AB, SMAK AB, HS Certifiering AB and Valiguard AB.

Imported products may also be marked with the logo, provided of course that they also meet the same standards as those that apply to EU products. Besides the obligatory Euro-leaf logo, organic products may however still be labelled with other organic logos.

A formal decision on adopting the logo will be taken in March and consumers can start identifying organic products by looking for the logo in July this year.

[1] Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 of 28 June 2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91