Austria

Mandatory Organic Standards and Labels

In Austria, the EU legislation on organic farming is fully implemented. Additionally, national rules apply: The EU Quality Regulation Implementation Act (EU QuaDG) defines requirements concerning the implementation of EU organic legislation, e.g. regarding the control system. Some national decrees related to organic production as well as the annotated versions of Council Regulations (EC) No 834/2007 and Council regulation (EC) No. 889/2008 aim at the harmonization of the application of EU organic legislation at national level. Additional requirements not covered by EU organic legislation concerning animal husbandry, organic cosmetics and organic catering are laid down in an Austrian guideline on organic production. The national rules are only relevant for operators in Austria, not for exporting companies from other countries.

The competent authority for organic farming is the Austrian Federal Ministry of Health and Women’s Affairs. Some of its responsibilities like the authorisation and supervision of control bodies is delegated to the province governors (Bundesländer).

Pre-packed organic products sold in Austria have to be labelled with the EU organic farming logo. For products imported from third countries the use of the EU organic farming logo is optional. A mandatory national organic label does not exist.

Basic Regulation on production and labelling of organic products
COUNCIL REGULATION (EC) No 834/2007 of 28 June 2007 on the organic production and labelling of organic products and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91.
This basic regulation became effective on 1 January 2009 and describes the objectives, principles and most important rules on production. The basic regulation is complemented by the rules for implementation (see below).
A consolidated version covering all amendments can be downloaded as well as the single legal acts (all corrections, amendments and additions). Updates are performed regularly and promptly.
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Implementing Rules on organic production, labelling and Control
COMMISSION REGULATION (EC) No 889/2008 of 5 September 2008 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products with regard to organic production, labelling and control.
The rules for implementation describe detailed production and labelling rules and positive lists for permitted inputs. The objectives, principles and most important production rules are described in the basic regulation (see above).
A consolidated version covering all amendments can be downloaded as well as the single legal acts (all corrections, amendments and additions). Updates are performed regularly and promptly.
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Implementing Rules on the import of organic products from third countries  
COMMISSION REGULATION (EC) No 1235/2008 of 8 December 2008 laying down detailed rules for implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 as regards the arrangements for imports of organic products from third countries.
The rules for implementation describe the arrangements for imports of organic products.
A consolidated version covering all amendments can be downloaded as well as the single legal acts (all corrections, amendments and additions). Updates are performed regularly and promptly.
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European Commission
Website of the Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Commission with information on organic farming and EU legislation.
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EU Quality Regulation Implementation Act (EU-QuaDG)
The EU Quality Regulation Implementation Act (Bundesgesetz zur Durchführung des Unionsrechts auf dem Gebiet der biologischen Produktion, geschützten Herkunftsangaben und traditionellen Spezialitäten; EU-Qualitätsregelungen-Durchführungsgesetz - EU-QuaDG) defines rules for the implementation of EU organic legislation, e.g. regarding the Austrian control system.
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National decrees concerning organic production in Austria
Overview on national decrees concerning organic production in Austria published by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Health and Women’s affairs and provided at its communication platform 'Consumer Health'.
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Annotated versions of Council Regulations (EC) No. 834/2007 and 889/2008
The annotated versions of Council Regulations (EC) No. 834/2007 and 889/2008 aim at the harmonization of the application of EU organic legislation on national level. The annotated versions are published by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Health and Women’s affairs and provided at its communication platform 'Consumer Health'.
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Austrian guideline on organic production
The Austrian guideline on organic production (Richtlinie Landwirtschaftliche Produkte aus biologischer Produktion und daraus hergestellte Folgeprodukte - RL Biologische Produktion), elaborated by the advisory council on organic production according to article 13 of the EU Quality Regulation Implementation Act (EU-QuaDG), covers additional national rules concerning animal husbandry, organic cosmetics and organic catering.
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Federal Ministry of Health and Women’s Affairs
Website of the Federal Ministry of Health and Women’s Affairs, the competent authority for organic agriculture in Austria.
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Voluntary Organic Standards and Labels

In Austria, the most important organic farmers’ association is Bio Austria, which was founded in 2005. Bio Austria developed a private organic production standard and owns the well-known Bio Austria label.

Another voluntary Austrian label is the AMA-Biosiegel owned by the Republic of Austria represented by the Agrarmarkt Austria Marketing GmbH, which is responsible for carrying out agricultural marketing across Austria. The AMA guidelines meet the criteria of EU organic legislation, but are in some aspects stricter, e.g. 100 percent of the ingredients have to be organic.

Bio Austria
Website of the organic farmers' association Bio Austria with comprehensive information on the association and its standards.
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AMA Biosiegel
Website of Agrarmarkt Austria Marketing GmbH with information on the AMA-Biosiegel.
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Control Bodies

The control and certification process is performed by private control bodies approved by the competent authorities in the Austrian provinces (Bundesländer). The up-to-date directory of Austrian control bodies is published by the EU.

Control Authorities
List of designated control authorities and approved control bodies in the EU, as well as in the European Economic Area and Switzerland in accordance with Article 35 of the Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007.
Provided are respective links to an official, older version and a more current, provisional version.
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Import Requirements

The procedure for the import of organic products into Austria depends on the country of origin. Within the European Union, organic products can be marketed freely in all Member States. Organic products from countries outside the European Union can be imported into Austria if the exporting country is listed in the directory of recognised third countries or the products have been certified by a control body authorised by the EU Commission as equivalent.

Sales of organic products from EU countries

Austria belongs to the European Union. Within the European Union, the principle of free movement of goods applies for organic products subject to Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007. Organic products which have been produced or processed in an EU member state or which are imported from third countries into another EU member state can be marketed freely in Austria. 

Import of organic products from non-EU countries

Organic products from countries outside the European Union (so-called third countries) can be imported into the EU and can be labelled with reference to organic agriculture and the EU organic logo, if they comply with the legal requirements of EU legislation for organic agriculture and have been controlled and certified on-site at all levels of production, processing, storage and marketing. Organic products from non-EU countries can be imported according to the following two procedures:

  • Procedure 1 – Import from recognised third countries
  • Procedure 2 – Import from all other third countries

Import from recognised third countries

Organic products from non-EU countries can be imported into an EU country and marketed with reference to organic production if the exporting country is listed in the directory of recognised third countries (Annex III of Regulation (EC) No. 1235/2008). With the listing in Annex III of Regulation (EC) No. 1235/2008 the European Union recognises that the rules for production and inspection for certain product categories in these countries are equivalent to the rules of the EU legislation on organic farming. Exceptions for single products and product categories can occur.

The up-to-date directory of recognised third countries can be found in Annex III of the Council Regulation (EC) No 1235/2008 (see below). For each of these countries it has been specified which product categories are permitted for import (for example unprocessed plant products, live animals and unprocessed animal products etc.), which restrictions are in place, which control authority is responsible and from which control bodies the issued certificates of inspection are recognised.

Import from all other third countries

Organic products from non-EU countries not belonging to the recognised third countries (see above) can be imported into an EU country and marketed with reference to organic production if they have been certified by a third countries’ control body approved by the EU Commission according to Annex IV of Regulation (EC) No. 1235/2008. This list of recognised control bodies and control authorities also specifies the third countries and product categories for which the recognition applies.

Customs clearance and import notification

Each batch of organic products imported into the EU has to be accompanied by an electronic certificate of inspection as defined in Annex V of Regulation (EC) No 1235/2008, which is issued by the control body of the operator conducting the last preparation step in the third country, e.g. packing and labelling the export batches. According to amendment 2016/1842 of Regulation (EC) No. 1235/2006 this electronic certificate of inspection has to be generated via TRACES (Trade Control and Expert System) since 20th of October, 2017.
Each company with physical goods contact being involved in the export and import procedure has to register itself in the TRACES database. For that, an EU-Login is necessary. After registration with TRACES, the company has to inform its control body or authority which has to validate the registration.
Even though, the use of digital certificates of inspection with electronic signatures is planned, so far they are hardly accepted and printed and signed paper certificates of inspection are mainly used.
The import company notifies its control body about its imports through TRACES.
At the point of entry, the certificate of inspection has to be presented as original paper to the EU customs authority. The certificate is examined by customs for correctness and provided with an endorsement. Additionally, the customs authority checks the data in the online version of the inspection certificate in TRACES. Complete and correct data are required for customs clearance. After customs clearance, the imported lots can be traded freely in all member states of the EU.

Annex III of Regulation (EC) No 1235/2008: List of Third Countries
Directory of third countries and relevant specifications according to Article 7.
Directory of recognised third countries. The list describes the product categories for which the recognition is valid (including restrictions), the applicable production rules, the responsible authorities, the recognised control bodies, as well as the authorities issuing certifications. Go to the latest consolidated version to receive the latest version of the list.
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Organic Farming Information System: List of recognised Control Bodies and Control Authorities
List of control bodies and control authorities for the purpose of equivalence and relevant specifications referred to in article 10 of Regulation (EC) 1235/2008.
Directory of control bodies recognised as equivalent sorted according to name of control body. Listed are countries and product categories for which the recognition applies. This list is updated irregularly.
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Annex IV of Regulation (EC) No 1235/2008: List of recognised Control Bodies and Control Authorities
List of control bodies and control authorities for the purpose of equivalence and relevant specifications referred to in Article 10.
Directory of control bodies recognised as equivalent sorted according to name of control body. Listed are the countries and product categories for which the recognition applies.
The link leads to an overview page. To find the latest consolidated version, please scroll down until you reach the headline "Relationship between documents". There you find "All consolidated versions". Open the latest consolidated version and scroll down within the document until you reach Annex IV. To find out, which control bodies are recognised for a certain country, you can use the search function and search for the country you are interested in.
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European Commission: Information on TRACES
The website of the European Commission provides general information on TRACES as well as detailed instructions.
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EU-Login
Website to create an EU-Login, which is a requirement to register with TRACES. 
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TRACES - Trade Control and Expert System - Login
Website to register with TRACES.
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Further Information

General information on organic agriculture in Austria.

Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management (BMLFUW): Information on organic agriculture
The website of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management provides information on organic agriculture in Austria.
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Organic Europe: Austria
Country report on organic agriculture in Austria. The site is updated irregularly.
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Global Organic Trade Guide: Austria
Website of the American Organic Trade Association (OTA) providing information on international organic trade. Although designed for U.S. exporters, some of the provided information might also be interesting for exporters from other countries.
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