West indian countries

German company temporarily withdraws from organic certification in “third countries”

One of Europe’s leading organic certification agencies, LACON GmbH, has decided to temporarily withdraw from certification in third countries, including India, in view of changes to the EU’s organic farming regulations. European Union.

In a statement released Thursday from its headquarters in Offenburg, Germany, LACON, which has an Indian subsidiary LACON Quality Certification (India), said it was withdrawing from certification in third countries as the conditions of the “regulation biological” were evolving.

Forced to change course

LACON, who has more than 30 years of experience in the organic sector, said he was forced to “change course and withdraw” from certification as a result.

In particular, he criticized the EU’s publication of Regulation 2021/2325 issued last month, saying that “principles and requirements are increasingly unclear and decisions are becoming arbitrary”.

In the regulation published last month, the European Union said organic products imported by member countries should not only guarantee that they are properly processed, but also free from any chemical residue.

Focus on residue-free

LACON said the focus on zero residue as an organic characteristic for third country products was a “political move away from process certification”.

“We are necessarily forced to withdraw from international organic trade for the time being. This, (is) until the conditions regarding the new certification (conformity) system in third countries are clarified and the requirements are on a solid and firm basis. We deeply regret this situation,” he said.

Won’t it guarantee the integrity of the product?

A trade analyst said the latest EU regulation on organic products calls for process and product integrity. “By withdrawing from organic certification in third countries, Lacon does not want to vouch for the integrity of the product,” the analyst said.

Until now, all organic shipments had to be certified for the process rather than the product. Certification bodies oversee the manufacturing process of an organic product and clear it for shipments.

However, with tests in Europe showing the presence of pesticides or other chemical residues, the EU decided to toughen the regulations, which required that any organic product imported by member countries be completely free of residues.

India is one of the countries whose organic products are subject to increased scrutiny by the EU. Last month, the EU decided to blacklist five certification bodies from January 1 this year for authorizing or ratifying exports of organic products because they failed to meet standards for oxide residues. ethylene (ETO) in consignments, mainly sesame (til/gingelly).

On the Indian side, the Agricultural and Processed Food Export Development Authority, which is the supervisory body, banned five certification bodies for failing to meet regulatory standards.

Will not affect India

The analyst said LACON’s withdrawal from third countries will not affect organic shipments from India as there are other agencies that can handle certification processes.

In the statement, LACON told its customers: “…we would like to be honest at this point, let common sense prevail and act preemptively so that our well-known quality and your certification are not at risk. We are aware that this decision will also affect you in the short term, so we will do everything we can to support you during this difficult time, such as moving to another certification body.”

However, the certification firm has ensured to bounce back once the “storm” has calmed down.

LACON is accredited by the National Accreditation Body, Government of India, under the National Organic Production Scheme (NPOP). It also offers organic certification to USDA-NOP standards for products intended for export to the United States. The company is also listed as an equivalent certification body by the European Union for equivalency purposes.

Published on

January 21, 2022


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