Organic production is a way of producing food and other products that respects natural life cycles. It is part of a larger supply chain, which encompasses food processing, distribution and import. EU Regulation 834/2007 provides the basis for the sustainable development of organic production while ensuring the effective functioning of the internal market, guaranteeing fair competition, ensuring consumer confidence and protecting consumer interests.
As organic products cannot be identified by a laboratory test or physical examination, their organic status is checked through a certification system laid down in EU law and overseen by the Commission. This system aims to provide consumers with assurance that when they purchase a product in the EU labelled as organic the product they receive is indeed organic. The system is implemented by the Member States and inspections are made by both public and private bodies.
The European Court of Auditors is currently examining, as an extended follow-up, whether the control system governing the production, processing, distribution and import of organic products can now provide increased confidence in organic products.
Audit evidence will be collected by analysing current legislation and legislative proposals, Member States control plans and annual reports, Commission files and audit reports, through questionnaires (to follow up the six Member States audited previously) and by conducting interviews with representatives from the Commission, from the selected Member States (Bulgaria and the Czech Republic) and control bodies.
This audit report will form part of a series on various aspects of the food chain produced by the European Court of Auditors. The series also includes Food Waste (published in January 2017), Animal Welfare (currently underway) and Food Safety in the EU (also planned for 2018).