Officials from the United States and the European Union signed a deal today in Nuremburg, Germany, that will allow organic food products to be sold as such in both regions. As it stands now, food labeled as organic has to conform to different standards according to place of origin. The new regulations, which go into effect in June, are part of efforts to boost trade in the industry. According to the AFP, the organic food industry is currently valued at more than $50 billion annually. That would be 38 billion euros, at least last time we checked. (Somebody ask Angela Merkel).
"This partnership eliminates significant barriers, especially for small and medium-sized organic producers," said the European Commission. And Kathleen Merrigan, U.S. Deputy Agriculture Secretary, told Reuters, "We expect there will be a growth in trade as a result of this agreement."
According to today's USDA news release, "Under this agreement, estimates show the market for U.S. organics sales to the EU could grow substantially within the first few years. In 2010, the U.S. organic market grew nearly 8 percent to nearly $28.6 billion."
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The agreement excludes fish and seafood, as well as any goods that use antibiotics during production. What does that cover? Some EU-produced meat and some U.S.-produced produce, such as apples and pears. The EU and United States combine for about 90% of global organic consumption.