The European Court of Auditors (ECA) is to carry out an audit of organic food in the EU in response to growing retail sales within the sector that leaves the industry open to fraudulent organic claims.
The audit is an update to the ECA’s last inspection in 2012, during which retail sales in the EU organic market grew by 54% in 2010 – 2015. Imports of organic produce grew by 32% during this period. The challenge faced by the organic sector is to ensure a steady growth of supply and demand, while maintaining consumers trust, said Nikolaos Milionis, the member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the audit.
Trust was dented in May 2017, when a report claimed a shipment of 36 million pounds of corn and soya beans entering the US was falsely labelled as organic. The shipment, which originated in Ukraine, allegedly was able to obtain organic certification thereby increasing its value by around €3.2m ($4m) when it docked in California via Turkey.
With an average premium of around 15-30%, certified organic products are an attractive target for food fraud. Its price premium does not appear to dent consumer interest as the market struggles to meet supply and demand with the gap continuing to widen. According to IFOAM EU, the European organic food and drink market grew 7.4% in 2014 with retail sales of approximately €24m.
Read full original article at Food Navigator.