Many suppliers advertise their products as “organic products”, including animal feed. However, in order for a product to be labeled as such, it must meet the requirements of the EU organic regulation. Based on a current warning, we will show you which mistakes you should avoid in this context.
General information on the EU Organic Regulation
The EU legal provisions for organic farming and the associated implementation regulations were revised with effect from January 1, 2022 in Regulation (EU) 2018/848 (= EU Organic Regulation).
The provisions of the EU Organic Regulation are intended to protect consumers across Europe from deception and thus avoid unfair competition.
All organic products produced and sold in the European Union must comply with the standards of the EU Organic Regulation. In addition, the designation of organic food must not give a misleading impression.
Would you like to know more about EU organic law?
In this post we have taken a closer look at the changes to the EU organic regulation that have been in force since January 1st, 2022.
The competition center, a gem. § 8 Para. 3 No. 2 UWG non-profit self-regulation institution of the German economy with legal standing, complained about the behavior of a feed distributor on the Internet.
In his online shop, the distributor offered the product “organic laying hen pellets” for sale. The product was advertised as an “organic product” although, in the opinion of the central competition office, it did not comply with the provisions of the EU Organic Regulation and thus violated Article 30 Paragraph 2 Subsection 1 of the EU Organic Regulation (VO (EU) 2018/848).
Furthermore, in the opinion of the central competition office, the designation “100% ecological raw materials” under the title “Ingredients” was also illegal, since it falsely gave the consumer the impression that the product was in accordance with the EU Organic Regulation and thus a Violation of Article 30 Paragraph 2 Subparagraph 2 of the EU Organic Regulation justified.
Prohibition of the designation “organic” if the product does not comply with the EU organic regulation
According to article 30, paragraph 2, paragraph 1 of the EU Organic Regulation (VO (EU) 2018/848), feedstuffs must meet the requirements of the EU Organic Regulation in order to be able to advertise them with the designation “organic”. Otherwise, such a designation verboten.
In order for the feed to meet the requirements of the ordinance, the dry matter of this feed must according to Article 30 Paragraph 6 lit. c in conjunction with Article 30 Paragraph 1 EU Organic Regulation at least 95% ecological or organic be within the meaning of the regulation.
In this specific case, however, according to the description on the product page, only 89% of the product’s ingredients were of agricultural origin. Thus, the product cannot be 95% ecological or organic and therefore does not meet the requirements of the regulation.
Consequently, the goods may not be advertised as “organic products”.
Misleading if the product or ingredients used do not have organic properties
According to Article 30 Paragraph 2 Subparagraph 2 EU Organic Regulation, no misleading designations may be used for animal feed.
A designation is misleading, among other things, if it leads the consumer or user to believe that the corresponding product or the ingredients used in its production correspond to the regulations of the EU organic regulation.
In this specific case, the designation “100% ecological raw materials” falsely gave the consumer the impression that the product was in line with the EU Organic Regulation (Federal Court of Justice, judgment of September 13, 2012, Az I ZR 230/11 ), although this was not actually the case.
Violation of the EU Organic Regulation: Consequences
Both Art. 30 Para. 2 Subparagraph 1 and Subparagraph 2 EU Öko-VO are so-called market conduct rules. This means that a violation of such a norm is also a violation of § 3 a UWG represents and the advertising pursuant to Section 3 (1) UWG is inadmissible and can be warned.
Especially in the last few weeks, more and more warnings have been issued in the field of marketing animal feed labeled as “organic products”. In order to avoid such a warning, a careful check is recommended as to whether or not you are allowed to advertise your feed using the “organic” label.
FAQ on advertising with organic terms and seals in retail
We have in this post compiled an extensive and readable FAQ on the subject of “Advertising with organic terms and seals in retail”. A must-read for all online retailers who sell organic products!
In the case of organic feed, the European legislator has considered it necessary to specifically regulate the factual requirements for advertising and labeling.
According to the EU organic regulation, it is forbidden to advertise feedstuffs with the designation “organic” if the product in question does not comply with the provisions of the EU organic regulation. Also, as an online retailer of animal feed, you may not use any designations if they could mislead the consumer by making the consumer believe that the product in question or the ingredients used in its production comply with the provisions of the EU Organic Regulation.
Would you like to act with legal certainty and rely on the expertise of the IT law firm? With our protection packages you have the opportunity to secure your online trade as desired!
Tipp: Do you have any questions about the contribution? Feel free to discuss this with us in the
Entrepreneur group of the IT law firm on Facebook.