Seals are intended to ensure transparency in the organic market. But what exactly is the difference between “Bio light” and “Premium-Bio”? How do the certifications work and what do they mean for producers? We offer you an overview of how to acquire and secure the EU seal.

Farmers who want to have their products certified with an bio seal must register with one of the 16 approved ecological inspection bodies. This includes, for example, Ecocert IMO GmbH in Constance. After the first on-site inspection, the users of the EU seal are inspected at least once a year. According to EU information, approximately one in five visits is unannounced.

What is in it?

At least 95 percent of the ingredients of products with the EU seal must be of ecological origin. It is also possible to use raw materials from countries that only work in accordance with guidelines equivalent to the EU Organic Regulation. Of the total of 316 food additives approved in the EU, the EU Organic Regulation permits 53.

85,000 products with EU seal

Every product that is labelled with the EU label must be registered with the Information Centre Bio-Siegel by e-mail, fax or post before it is placed on the market. When used, the seal must comply with the graphic requirements of the Organic Labelling Ordinance. The use is free of charge. At present, almost 85,000 products from more than 5,600 companies in Germany are registered for labelling with the EU seal (status 30.4.2020). The EU label is not awarded to cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and products from hunting or wild fishing.

Steps towards the EU bio label:
  • Participation as certified company in the control system according to Regulation (EC) No 834/2007
  • the product is produced in accordance with the provisions of EU legislation on organic farming
  • the organic label complies with the graphic specifications
  • the product has been notified to the Bio-Siegel information centre for each notification, a sample label of the notified product must be sent to the Bundesanstalt für Landwirtschaft und Ernährung (BLE).

Unlike online traders, stationary retailers are exempt from the inspection obligation if they sell products directly to end consumers without further preparation (packaging, labelling). The organic seal may be used by retailers and producers for advertising purposes on displays, shelves, ceiling hangers or shop window stickers.

“Premium Bio” versus “Bio light”

Critics of the EU label complain that the requirements do not go far enough and that the products are not produced as ecologically as is suggested to consumers. For them, the seal represents a kind of “organic light”. But there is no alternative to the EU label as an organic standard label. The private growers’ associations therefore offer, so to speak, an extra for environmentally conscious consumers: a higher organic level and a complete proof of origin. The three largest growers’ associations in this country are Bioland, Naturland and Demeter.