Organic Certification in Italy

The article about the European Organic Certifiers Council (EOCC) from the previous newsletter caught the attention of some of our readers, who have asked for more information on organic certification in Italy. Let us go back to the subject to provide more information for those who seek official recognition of their organic produce from official Italian certifiers.

It is not yet all coded or finalized at both Italian and European level. Certification is determined by the control body, on how often its check-ups take place and on how credible it is. For this reason, many aggregations of associations and new certification consortiums came to our attention.

 From 1982 the Italian Association for Organic Agriculture (AIAB in Italian) links many Italian regional associations who deal with organic agriculture and sustainable development. Initially it had acquired control body and certifier functions by the Agriculture Ministry. From 2002, however, the Ministry transferred the function to the Institute for Ethical and Environmental Certification (ICEA in Italian), to BioAgriCert, and others. Now all is left for the AIAB is to promote organic agricultural practices.

 As mentioned in Newsletter 34, there are 5 certified Italian associations in the EOCC:

ICEABioAgriCert , Bios, CCPB, and Associazione Suolo e Salute.

ICEA is a consortium, which controls and certifies those industries with a view to safeguarding human beings, environment, dignity of workers and consumers’ rights. ICEA provides certifications for various sectors: organic food processing, organic aquaculture, bio-cosmetics and detergency, biotextiles, eco-friendly furniture, sustainable tourism, green building material, sustainable land management, …

BioAgriCert is a control body, and active member of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) in defining the norms and practices organic agriculture, and international accreditation systems.

Bios is a control and certifying body for organic agriculture, similarly authorised by the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies for Italy, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) in Romania.

CCPB operates as a control body and certifier for food and “no food” products made with organic-eco compatible and eco-sustainable practices.

Associazione Suolo e Salute (Soil and Health Association) has promoted organic agriculture as an alternative to conventional agriculture since 1969, and demonstrating via research and experiments that “the organic-mineral method as a production practice led to produce food with a higher nutritional value, and is subject to the laws of nature”. Soil and Health is a control and certifying organisation for food-processing and the environment.

These associations are located in a restricted geographical area: 4 have official headquarters in Bologna, and one in Marostica (near Vicenza). They all have various offices in other Italian regions, in some areas of Europe, and in the world (US, China, Mexico, Egypt…). They share the same approach: the farmer, who would like the certification, must make a request and be ready to respect the procedures required by the certifier (which are in line with Italian and European legislation). Once the certification is awarded, the farm is to be checked on a yearly basis.

All five associations are members of FederBio, a regrouping initiative for the most important Italian organizations in the biodynamic and organic sectors. FederBio is therefore a potential tool to trace a common framework for biodynamic and organic associations, in order to create one common organisation for the Institutions and parliaments’ reference.