Organic operators are honest but not keen on paperwork


<div>Annual inspections in 2005 showed that manufacture and import of organic foodstuffs operate almost flawlessly. The organic status was only removed from one product batch. The paperwork required in connection with organic operation, on the other hand, still leaves a lot to be desired. </div>

Operation is honest

In 2005, a total of 410 manufacturers and importers of organic foodstuffs were subjected to a thorough inspection. Moreover, an extra or re-inspection was carried out on 4% of the operators. As in previous years, samples were taken during the inspections for pesticide and gmo analyses. One sample of grain was found to contain a pesticide residue, which resulted in further investigations. Because of the residue the batch could not be marketed as organic grain. The origin of the pesticide residue was not identified and because of the residue the grain batch lost its organic status. The residue was so small, however, that it did not stop the product from being used as conventionally produced grain.

On the other hand, the inspections revealed several deficiencies in bookkeeping as well as in the way operators supplement and update their in-house control plans. Minor deficiencies were found in the operation of 46% of operators, but the deficiencies did not give rise to suspicions of the genuineness of the organic products. For example, the code of the control authority was missing in the cover documents or an ingredient had not been indicated in the labelling as organically produced.

Number of operators on a slight decrease

The number of organic manufacturers and importers has been slightly on the decrease and decreased by 19 also in 2005, although wholesale businesses and warehouses that carry organic products were added in the sphere of control. In addition to the inspection fees, organic operators find bookkeeping obligations in particular a burden. Undeniably, organic operation involves some challenging paperwork, which in some cases has been the reason for discontinuation of organic operation.

Food Safety Authority Evira takes over control of organic operation

The National Food Agency and the Plant Production Inspection Centre were abolished on 30 April 2006. The control of manufacture and import of organic foodstuffs, previously implemented by the National Food Agency, and the control of organic production and manufacture of organic feeds for organic production, for which the plant Production Inspection Centre was responsible, were taken over by the Food Safety Authority Evira, which started on 1 May. Thus, control of all aspects of organic operation is now under the supervision of just one authority in Finland. Organic alcoholic beverages are an exception to this, as they remain under the control of the National Product Control Agency for Welfare and Health.

For more information, please contact Ms. Eeva Fieandt, Senior Officer, tel. +358 (0) 20 772 4285 or Ms. Minna-Maija Väänänen, Senior Officer, tel. +358 (0) 20 772 4319.


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