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 the basic requirements.

The EU label sets the minimum standard, but private farming associations such as Bioland, Naturland and Demeter set much stricter requirements. In principle, however, the following applies: Organic farming stands for species-appropriate animal husbandry and the renunciation of genetic engineering, mineral nitrogen fertilizers and synthetic pesticides. Consumers should be able to recognize that these standards are being met by means of seals. To do so, they must be able to trust that independent controls will ensure that they are met.

In practice, however, the growing number of seals tends to confuse many consumers. In addition to the EU organic seal, many products carry not only the state German organic seal, but also the logo of a growers’ association. In addition to Demeter, Bioland and Naturland there are a number of smaller associations, some of which focus on the cultivation of special crops, such as Biokreis, Hand-in-Hand (Rapunzel), Gäa, Biopark, biocyclic vegan cultivation or EcoVin and Fair’n Green. The Free State of Bavaria has procured its own organic label through the EU 2015, which combines organic standards with regional origin.

No organic without the EU label

As different as the focal points of the associations are, they are united by one thing: In many respects they go beyond the legal regulations of the EU Organic Regulation and in some cases also cover additional product segments. But it is not possible without the EU seal. Anyone within the European Union who wants to call their products “bio”, “eco” or “from controlled organic cultivation” will be required to use the EU logo with the leaf of white stars against a light green background from 1 July 2012. Every company that produces, manufactures, prepares, stores or markets organic products is subject to controls according to the EU regulations for organic farming.

The hexagonal national organic seal, which was introduced in Germany in 2001, may only be used together with the EU bio logo since then. Although it has no statement of its own and is actually superfluous, many suppliers label their products with both seals. The following applies to labelling: On pre-packaged organic food that has undergone a processing stage in the EU, the EU logo must be indicated with the internationally standardized code of the organic inspection body and the origin of the ingredients.