EU imports of organic products from Norway and Iceland to resume
It can be duly marketed as abiding by the EU's organic rules following the incorporation of the relevant regulations into the agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA).
The long-awaited decision by the EEA Joint Committee puts an end to an 8-year delay during which organic producers from Norway and Iceland (the EEA countries concerned) were complying with outdated rules no longer applied within the EU.
As a result of the adoption of this decision, imports of organic salmon produced and certified in accordance with the EU Regulations from the EEA countries will be able to resume as of March 18, 2017.
The EU first adopted rules on organic production and labelling in 1991, but updated them in 2007, in many cases with stricter rules.
Additional production rules were introduced later, notably organic aquaculture production rules, in 2009.
All these rules became compulsory to EU producers in January 2015, and the delay in the incorporation of the new regulations into the EEA agreement created a situation of unfair treatment of producers and operators.
In particular, as regards the EU aquaculture rules applicable to the production and certification of organic salmon, the delay meant that aquaculture products from these countries could not be imported and sold as organic in the EU, with implications for EEA countries' producers and EU importers and processors.
The EEA authorities had delayed incorporating the new Regulations because of outstanding requests for derogations on certain technical points, notably on the use of fishmeal to feed ruminants and a degree of flexibility on labelling.
These requests have now been withdrawn. ■