Only a few people are familiar with the European Organic Certifiers Council (EOCC), the association for those certifying and control bodies currently in office and with authority to supervise organic agriculture in Europe.
With roots from 2010, the Council used to be a network of organizations concerned about the implications of European regulations for organic culture on their activities. These organizations subsequently funded the EOCC, a non-profit organisation ‘to increase the reliability of control and certification activities and decisions in relation to European organic agriculture’.And having built up extensive experience in the field, the EOCC was finally given formal recognition by the European Commission, and is now its partner to DG Agriculture, when it comes to dialogue with civil society groups.
The EOCC is in charge of the control and certification of organic production. This process is based on requests issued by professional farmers who wish to obtain a recognition of their organic production standards, in line with the criteria defined by European legislation and by the certifying body. Once the certification is obtained, it must be followed by inspections on an annual basis and checks are carried out by authorities accredited by the EOCC itself. The entire production chain and control authorities are mentioned in the label of the product.
The structure of the EOCC is rather straightforward:
- An annual General Assembly for member representatives to define the general political orientation, elect members of the Administration Council, and decide on the working groups, their mandate and responsibilities.
- An Administration Council, which is in charge of daily activities and implements decisions made by the Assembly. Members of the Council are elected for a 3-year period and can be re-elected twice. The current president of the Administration Council is Italian, Fabrizio Piva.
The associations, which take part in the EOCC, come from 25 different nations, 21 of which are European plus USA, India, Ukraine and Turkey. There are five associations for Italy which are officially recognised as certifying bodies: BioAgriCert, Bios, CCPB, ICEA, and finally a specific one which mentions soil, Associazione Suolo e Salute – or “Health and Soil Association” – .