Organic farming and organic products

Kennzeichnung Bio

Organic farming is a form of agriculture that protects the environment and conserves resources. Farms producing organic products operate according to the principles and requirements of organic farming, which are defined in the Swiss Organic Farming Ordinance.

Both agricultural production and the preparation of organic food and feed are carried out according to the regulations of organic farming. These regulations consist of strict rules aimed at protecting the environment and resources.

Every farm that produces, prepares, trades or imports organic products is inspected and certified at least once a year by one of the four accredited and approved certification bodies in Switzerland.

Links to certificates of organic farmers and companies:

Certificates bio.inspecta and Bio Test Agro (BTA)

Certificates Ecocert Swiss AG

Certificates ProCert

The legal framework for organic farming is composed of the following three ordinances:

-    The Organic Farming Ordinance (SR 910.18)
-    The EAER Ordinance on Organic Farming (SR 910.181)
-    The FOAG Ordinance on Organic Farming (SR 910.184)

In addition, the FOAG's directives on the Organic Farming Ordinance address and specify the provisions on specific topics in more detail.

The Organic Farming Ordinance (SR 910.18) sets out in great detail the principles by which agricultural products and foodstuffs labelled as organic must be made and produced. The regulations apply to the production, preparation, storage, marketing, import and export of organic products.

The inspection system for the entire production process and trade takes a risk-based approach.

The EAER Organic Farming Ordinance (SR 910.181) clarifies these principles with precise implementing provisions. It regulates, for example, the products and substances authorised for use in organic farming and for preparing organic food and feed. It also provides regulations governing their use.

The FOAG Organic Farming Ordinance (SR 910.184) is particularly relevant for the import of organic products. This Ordinance sets out the list of countries (Annex 1) and the list of approved third country certification bodies and inspection authorities (Annex 2). The production and inspection regulations of the listed countries are recognised as being equivalent to those in Switzerland. This means that organic products imported from these countries may be labelled as organic.

Organic products certified by EU-recognised third country control bodies (see procedure according to Article 10 of Regulation (EC) No. 1235/2008) may also be imported into Switzerland. Annex 2 of the FOAG Organic Farming Ordinance (SR 910.184) contains a list of other certification bodies and inspection authorities which, by way of derogation from the EC Regulation, are approved for imports into Switzerland from certain countries.

Under the Organic Farming Ordinance, the 'organic' label may only be used for products within its scope (SR 910.18, Article 1). However, the following are not included in the scope: insects and products from fishing, aquaculture and hunting. This means that they cannot be certified according to the Organic Farming Ordinance.

There is no official national organic label in Switzerland. Instead, private labels are used for this purpose, which can belong to an association or a working group, or be a company's own trade mark.

Further information

Last modification 13.06.2024

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