Regulation of the organic sector
A major factor that distinguishes organic farming from other approaches to sustainable farming is the existence of internationally acknowledged standards and certification procedures. The standards for organic production within the European Union are defined and enshrined in law by Council Regulation EC 834/2007 (pdf 190Kb) as amended.
With effect from 24 August 2000, Council Regulation 1804/99, which supplemented the original Council Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91 (pdf 448Kb) (which has been replaced by Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007), brought organic livestock and livestock produce within the ambit of EU rules. These standards have been developed to provide organic producers with clear rules as to how organic food should be produced to meet consumers' demands.
Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 as amended, creates a framework defining in detail the requirements for agricultural products or foodstuffs bearing a reference to organic production methods. The rules not only define the methods of production for organic crops and livestock but it also regulates the labelling, processing, inspection and marketing of organic products within the European Community and the importation of organic products from non-member countries.
In Ireland the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food is the competent authority (i.e. the Department's Organic Unit is based at Johnstown Castle Estate, Wexford) for regulating the organic sector and ensuring that the obligations and requirements of Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 as amended are adhered to.