European Union and United States Agree on Organic Food Pact

By Jeannette | February 22, 2012

Photo: Simon Leufstedt

By: Justin Chan

While there has been some debate over whether organic farming is sustainable, the issue did not stop the European Union and the United States from agreeing on a pact that will allow organic producers to sell their products in the two regions.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the two sides agreed to recognize each other’s certificates on organic products. The move will make it more convenient for the E.U. and the U.S. to engage in a market that is worth approximately $50 billion. “This partnership will open new markets for American farmers and ranchers, create more opportunities for small businesses, and result in good jobs for Americans who package, ship, and market organic products,” said Kathleen Merrigan, the U.S. Agriculture Deputy Secretary.

The demand for organic products has increased among American and European consumers as they strive to be more conscious about their health. Americans, in particular, are struggling against obesity. A study last year showed that American children are very vulnerable to eating unhealthy food.

The new pact between the E.U. and the U.S. marks a turning point in their trade relations. The two had reportedly been at odds over issues such as genetically modified products and the use of hormones in raising livestock. Beginning June 1,  products certified organic in the E.U. and the U.S. will be available for sale. They will be shipped with an organic export certificate and checked for antibiotics by inspection agents.

As USA Today reported last week, local farmers are excited about the potential growth of the organic food market. “It’s a big win,” said Matt McLean, founder of Uncle Matt’s Organic in Clermont, Fla. “We’ve now got one more buyer that we can add to our Rolodex, and it’s a huge one, the second-largest market for organics behind the United States.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that the U.S. market for organic sales to the E.U. could grow by as much as 300% in the first several years. “The industry has been waiting for this,” said Merrigan. “They see that this will bring about job growth. Organic is one of the bright spots in the economy.”

Photo: simonleuf

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