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The double-edged sword of organic product certification: Balancing authenticity and accessibility for entrepreneurs

Published: 28-01-2024

In the world of organic products, certification plays a crucial role. It guarantees consumers the authenticity of organic products, but recent developments within EU legislation have raised concerns among operators. The implementation of the EU regulation (EU 2018/848) on organic production and labelling of organic products (hereafter "Organic Regulation") sets strict requirements for the certification of organic products, which has a significant impact on businesses, especially smaller outlets.

Certification obligation and challenges

The certification obligation grew out of an effort to eliminate all risks of fraud with organic products. This has resulted in multiple checks and requirements, placing a significant administrative and financial burden on operators, especially those selling both organic and non-organic products. The cost of complying with these rules can be disproportionately high, affecting small operators in particular.

Impact on the Supply of Organic Products

The high regulatory burden of the Organic Regulation may cause operators to stop selling certified organic products or switch to alternative, organic-sounding labels. In addition, the rules encourage the use of more packaging materials, such as plastic, as organic products are often only offered pre-packaged. This runs counter to the sustainable principles commonly associated with organic products.

ATR opinions

The Advisory Committee on Regulatory Burdens (ATR) has recommended a thorough assessment of the impact of these regulations. It is advised to involve entrepreneurs more in the creation of such regulations and to examine whether the rules can be adjusted to reduce compliance costs.

Research and quick scan

A survey conducted by Panteia has shown that the Organic Regulation has a disproportionate impact on small and medium-sized enterprises. This quick scan underlines the importance of the practical impact of the Regulation.


The current EU regulation around the certification of organic products is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it guarantees the authenticity of organic products, but on the other hand it puts a heavy burden on operators, especially smaller ones. It is crucial that the EU and national governments reconsider and adjust the regulatory burden of this legislation to find a balanced, workable solution for all parties.