How to recognize organic products

Labelling requirements

Label is the warranty of an organic product.

From 1 July all pre-packaged organic foods within the EU must display the new Organic logo of the EU. AIAB (Italian Association for Organic Agriculture) realized a simple document to understand how to label an organic product with the new requirements.

Labelling regulations

Below Labelling Regulations and Documents:

Regulations CE 834/07 and CE 889/08 They are actually in force for organic Agriculture
Regulation CE 271/10 It defines the use of the new EU logo and modifies some labelling regulations

What is “label”?

Strips, label, primary and secondary packing material, covering the product are considered “label”. So label has to respect  CE 834/07 e CE 889/08 regulations and has to be approved by a control organism, autorized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

Which products can contain a label with organic references?

  1. Product, realized according organic agriculture requirements or imported according Reg. CE 834/07 and CE 889/08;
  2. product, realized with ingredients from agricultural activity and technological adjuvants accepted by Reg. CE 889/08
  3. product, realized with ingredients completely free from OGM
  4. Primary “organic” material has not been mixed with the same conventional ingredient
  5. product or its ingredients has not been treated with technological adjuvants different from the ones accepted by the organic regulation

It is possible to use an organic label only if all ingredients used to realized this product have been obtained in conformity with points 1-2-3-4

Who can label?

An operator (farmer, processor, importer) can label a product only according strict EU requirements and if authorised by a check organism recognized.


Organic, bio etc.., can be used only for product complied with Reg.  834/07 e 889/08. Indicating “organic” in the label, producer (Processor or distributor) is responsible of the product conformity.

European logo

European logo for organic products has been choosen during an International competition between more than 3400 proposals of design students from 27 countries, members of the EU. The best three logos were uploaded on the competition website. The winning design is by Dusan Milenkovic, a student from Germany, who gained 63% of the overall vote for his “Euro-leaf” logo. The ”Euro-leaf” design shows the EU stars in the shape of a leaf against a green background.

Since 1st July 2010 the use of the new EU logo on organic food has been mandatory

Eu logo has to contains the following features:

  1. Minimum height: 9 mm
  2. Minimum width: 13,5 mm
  3. Proportional relationship between its height and its width should be 1:1,5
  4. For small package height can be reduced to 6 mm 
  5. Reference pantone is green n. 376, for four-color printing green has to been obtained by 50% cyan+100% yellow  
  • It can be printed also in back and white when it is not possible to print it in colors
  • when EU logo has to be printed with another logo with the same colors but different shades, EU logo can be realized with the same colors of the other logo with no grade of non-conformity
  • If the background colour of the packaging or label is dark, the symbols may be used in negative format, using the background colour of the packaging or label
  • If logo is not clearly visible, it is possible to mark the external edge
  • A change of colour is allowed for a one colour printing process.


When it is used and on which products

EU organic logo is compulsory for organic pre-packaged food produced within the European Union, containing not less than 95% of organic ingredients.

It is not compulsory in products with the same features but produced within the EU or any organic food imported from third countries.

It cannot be used for products containing less than 95% of organic ingredients

In this case label will have the following indications:

Together with EU logo it is compulsory to put indication about country, production method, operator code, and reference to the control body.

Control Body authorised by Mi.P.A.A.F Checked Operator n.
IT BIO 123 A 456
  1. IT = ISO code, it identify organic parts
  2. BIO = it can be also ORG or EKO, it depends from countries
  3. 123 number code of the control body

Important news

Together with these indications it is compulsory to indicate in the label where products have been grown.

Indications could be the following:

EU AGRICULTURE where the agricultural raw material has been farmed in the EU
NON-EU AGRICULTURE where the agricultural raw material has been farmed in third countries
EU/NON-EU AGRICULTURE where part of the agricultural raw materials has been farmed in the Community and a part of it has been farmed in a third country Indication ‘EU’ or ‘non-EU’ may be replaced or supplemented by a country in the case where all agricultural raw materials of which the product is composed have been farmed in that country.

If a product is realized only with ingredients grown in Italy, EU AGRICULTURE indication can be replaced with the name of the country. In this case label will be the following:

IT BIO 001

EU logo can be accompanied by private logos or text, describing organic agriculture. These elements had not to contrast art. 58

An example could be AIAB private logo. AIAB standards have more restrictive requirements than the Eu Reg 834/07:

  • The whole farm has to be organic. The operator has to be organic, not with fields under conversion
  • All feed used for livestock has to be organic. The raw materials processed have to be produced in Italy
  • The operator commits himself to prevent, avoid and reduce any kind of pollution and promote the use of renewable energy

Below other examples of EU logos supported by private standards....



In some countries (Germany and France) it is possible to use national logos for all the operators (also for foreign operators) in conformity with certification Reg CE 834/07

Where it is not possible to use EU logo

EU organic logo cannot be used for:

  • an in-conversion product
  • a product, containing less than 95% of organic ingredients
  • products not included in Reg. 834 and Reg 889, like for example wine.

Is it possible to use old labels with the old EU organic logo?

  • Old labels can be used upon availability of copies till 1st July 2012, but in this case product has to satisfy Reg. 834 and 889