Controls according to Reg. (EC) No. 834/2007 shall assure consumer confidence into products from organic farming in all member states of the European Union. In most of the member states, the controls are implemented by private control bodies, accredited to the European standard EN 45011 and approved and supervised by competent authorities of the member states. All control bodies are required by EN 45011 to conduct regular trainings for their inspectors according to the needs identified by regular performance reviews addressing the individual deficiencies identified.

During recent years, the organic marketplace has grown considerably in most of the EU member states, and its structure became more complex. More large and specialized farms started to produce organically, and more and more processed organic products were put on the market. Trade exchange of organic products becomes more common between the EU member states. Today, organic inspectors therefore require detailed and sophisticated knowledge on critical points in the organic production chain with international trade exchange and on methodologies for improved risk based inspection approaches towards farmers, processing facilities, importers, feed mills and traders of products from organic farming.

The European Court of Auditors has recently published a special report on the control system for organic products identifying several areas for improvement, for example in the traceability of organic products. Also, a number of fraud cases in the EU concerning products from organic farming occurred. Typically, these fraud cases concerned different member states and cross border sales, taking advantages from different national approaches towards controls.

The European Union and some member states implemented projects to improve the effectiveness and the efficiency of the organic control system during recent years. These results have received broad interest of control bodies in several member states. Unfortunately, they are not available in different languages yet, not prioritized, not adapted to the specific realities of the EU member states and not transferred into a training concept.

At this point IRM-ORGANIC will come into action by activating an exchange on state of the art-inspection methods and techniques in different European countries. With these findings an improved training approach for organic inspectors shall be realised.

For more information please follow these links:

The EU legal famework for organic production

EU-Commission guidelines for organic controls

The special report of the European Court of Auditors on the control system in organic production

An EU research project about the organic certification system

Learning from past fraud cases to improve quality assurance by operators and the organic control system