Italy

Mandatory Organic Standards and Labels

In Italy, EU legislation on organic farming is fully implemented. Additionally, some national rules apply. They are not relevant for companies exporting organic products to Italy. 

The competent authority responsible for the implementation of EU and national organic legislation is the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry. 

Pre-packed organic products sold in Italy 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 logo 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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National regulations on organic farming in Italy
Overview on regulations concerning organic farming in Italy. Choose “normative nazionale” to get a list of the national rules. The national rules are only relevant for Italian companies, not for companies exporting organic products to Italy. 
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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (MIPAAF)
Website of the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (Ministero per le politiche agricole, alimentary e forestali – MIPAAF), the competent authority for organic farming in Italy.
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Voluntary Organic Standards and Labels

In Italy, there is no voluntary national organic label. Private standards play a minor role. There is one farmers’ association (AIAB) and one certification body (CCPB) with private standards, but they have little relevance for the Italian organic market. 

Federbio, the Italian Federation of Organic and Biodynamic Agriculture, is the umbrella organisation of the organic sector in Italy.

Italian Association for Organic Agriculture (AIAB)
Website of the Italian Association for Organic Agriculture (Associazione italiana per l’agricoltura biologica – AIAB) with comprehensive information on the association and its standards.
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CCPB srl
Website of the control and certification body CCPB informing about its activities. CCPB has own standards with little relevance for the Italian organic market.
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Federation of Organic and Biodynamic Agriculture (Federbio)
Website of the Federation of Organic and Biodynamic Agriculture (Federbio - Federazione italiana agricoltura biologica e biodinamica), the umbrella organisation for the organic sector in Italy.
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Control Bodies

The organic control and certification process is performed by private control bodies approved by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (MIPAAF). The control bodies are supervised by regional control authorities. The approval of some of the control bodies is limited to the region South Tyrol in the north of Italy. The up-to-date directory of Italian 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 Italy 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 Italy 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

Italy 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 Italy. 

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 a 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. The import company notifies its control body with a copy of this certificate of inspection about the intended import. At the point of entry, the certificate of inspection has to be presented in original form to the EU customs authority. The certificate is examined by customs for correctness and provided with an endorsement. 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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Further Information

General information on organic agriculture in Italy.

Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (MIPAAF)
Website of the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (Ministero per le politiche agricole, alimentari e forestali – MIPAAF). 
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National information system on organic agriculture in Italy (SINAB)
National Information System for Organic Farming (SINAB) established by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry in collaboration with Italian regions. This platform provides regularly updated information and services to organic stakeholders.
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Organic Europe: Italy
Summary report on organic farming in Italy. The site is updated irregularly.
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Global Organic Trade Guide: Italy
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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