The European Court of Auditors (ECA), which is the EU's independent external auditor, is conducting an audit of organic-food checks in the EU. The auditors will examine the control system governing the production, processing, distribution and import of organic products. They will seek to assess whether consumers can now have greater confidence that products are truly organic than they could at the time of the ECA’s last audit of the sector in 2012.
Retail sales in the EU organic market grew by 54% between 2010 and 2015. The total area under organic farming in the EU increased by 21% over the same period. Imports of organic produce grew by 32% between 2012 and 2015. Although the price of organic products is higher than that of conventionally produced products, the market struggles to meet demand and the premium that consumers are willing to pay has the potential to encourage fraudulent organic sales. The ECA has also published a background paper on the organic food supply.
Under the Common Agricultural Policy, certified organic farmers receive a “greening” payment. Organic farmers can also receive support from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development for both conversion to and maintenance of organic farming practices. This Fund’s total contribution to organic-farming payments for 2014–2020 amounts to €6.5 billion.
The audit report is due to be published in early 2019. It will form part of a series of ECA reports on various aspects of the food chain that includes Food Waste, Animal Welfare (underway) and Food Safety (underway).
Read the ECA's Press Release at: Organic Supply Audit