European Court of Auditors:

“Origin of organic agricultural products often still untraceable”

A lot of organic products sold in the European Union can’t be traced back to their producer. Sometimes it takes more than three months to trace them, according to a study conducted by the European Court of Auditors. The study is a supplement to a study from 2012. The Court of Auditors assessed whether the control system of the EU for the production, processing, distribution and import of organic products offers more certainty to consumers now.

Europe: cumulative increase of organic area and retail trade sales 2000-2017

The Court of Auditors concluded that the control system has improved and that earlier recommendations have generally been obeyed. The member countries inspected last time have taken measures to improve their control systems, and the European Commission has resumed its inspection visits, and they have now visited most of the member countries. However, a number of shortcomings continue to exist: the use of enforcement measures when implementing sanctions for non-compliance isn’t harmonised throughout the EU, and authorities of the member countries and supervisory bodies were sometimes slow to report cases of non-compliance.

The Court of Auditors recommends the European Commission to:

  • deal with the remaining shortcomings in the control systems and the reporting of the member countries;
  • improve supervision on import through, among other things, better cooperation with accreditation institutions and the qualified authorities of other important import markets;
  • conduct complete traceability inspections regarding organic products.

For more information, please see the report The control system for organic products has improved, but some challenges remain on the site of the European Court of Auditors (link to Dutch website).

Source: Europese Rekenkamer

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