EU sales of organic products grew by 69% from 2010 to 2016, to €30.7bn.
Higher supervision of organic products, especially in terms of imports and traceability, is necessary in the EU, says the European Court of Auditors.
The ECA found that although strides have been made since its last audit in assuring consumers that the organic products they buy are indeed organic, further improvements were still needed.
In the 14 March report, the ECA called on the European Commission to work together with member states to further improve quality assurance for consumers, given that weaknesses remained when it came to national authority or control bodies (of which there are around 250 aproved in the EU) in communication of non-compliance cases, and that enforcement of non-compliance remained varied from one member state to the next.
“When consumers buy organic products, they rely on the fact that organic rules have been applied at every stage of the supply chain, whether they are produced in the EU or imported,” said ECA member Nikolaos Milionis, who was responsible for the report.
The report revealed, for example, that it was not possible in all cases to trace products back to the original agricultural producer, despite the fact that improvements had been made across the EU in this regard.
In the EU, organic farming has risen substantially in recent years, climbing from 9.1mn to 12mn ha between 2010 to 2016. Sales of organic products also grew by a whopping 69% over the same period, to €30.7bn in 2016. And, although the EU imported organic products from more than 100 third countries in 2018 alone, a different control system applied for those products, compared to the ones that were EU produced.