Detailed implementing rules

Implementing rules define the production, labelling and import requirements for the organic farming sector in Europe. Every year different new implementing rules amending the main two - Reg.(EC) No 889/2008 and Reg. (EC) No 1235/2008 - are published and come into force.  Implementing regulations are proposed by the Commission and approved by the Committee on Organic Production (COP), which is composed of the representatives of all National Competent Authorities.

Regulation (EC) No 889/2008 - Consolidated version - January 2018 (HTML versions in all EU languages can be found here)

Regulation (EC) No 1235/2008 - Consolidated version - July 2018 (pdf/HTML versions in all EU languages can be found here)

You can find the complete list of regulations published on this page.


Implementing regulation (EU) 2016/673 of 29 April 2016 which amends Regulation (EC) No 889/2008 covers different areas.

  • It clarifies that the term ‘seaweed’ used in the organic regulation covers also multi-cellular marine algae, phytoplankton and micro-algae
  • It postpones from the end of 2015 to the end of 2016 the derogation to use 50% non-organic aquaculture juveniles and bivalve shellfish seed in organic aquaculture
  • It postpones from 2015 to 2018 the deadline for the Commission to review some oenological practices, processes and treatments, namely heat treatments, use of ion exchange and reverse osmosis
  • It clarifies some aspects about temporary derogations for livestock for continuing or recommencing organic production in case of high mortality of animals caused by health or catastrophic circumstances and it extends the possibility of derogation for aquaculture animals  

Another important change is the restructuration and simplification of annexes II, VI and VIII of Regulation (EC) No 889/2008 and their harmonisation with horizontal legislations. Conditions for using of some substances have been modified and new substances have been added.

For Annex II on plant protection products, the additions are:

  • Basic substances are recognised in the horizontal Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 on plant protection products; these are substances whose primary use is not as plant protection product and that do not have any harmful effects, immediate or delayed, on human and animal health nor an unacceptable effect on the environment. The new implementing regulation allows for the use of basic substances as plant protection products in organic, but only if they are already defined as a foodstuff and are of plant or animal origin. In practice at the moment (December 2018) the following substances are allowed:
    -  Equisetum arvense L.
    -  Chitosan hydrocloride
    -  Sucrose
    -  Vinegar
    -  Lecithins
    -  Fructose
    -  Whey
    -  Sunflower oil
    -  Urtica spp.
    -  Mustard seeds powder
    -  Beer
    -  Onion oil 
  • Carbon dioxide – which was already authorised as food additive
  • Kieselgur – which was already authorised as food processing aid and feed additive

For food processing - Annex VIII - the following substances were added:

  • As additives: gellan gum, beeswax, carnauba wax and erythritol. The 3 last substances can be used only if they are derived from organically produced raw material
  • As food processing aids: Acetic acid / vinegar, wood fibre, and only for use in fruit wines thiamin hydrochloride and diammonium phosphate.

Some conditions for use have changed and are stricter. For example, only organic potato starch can be used in organic yeast production and - after a transition period - only lecithins derived from organically produced raw material will be allowed.

For feed, three new substances have been added as nutritional additives (compounds of trace elements): selenised yeast inactivated, zinc chloride hydroxide monohydrate and dicopper chloride trihydroxide.


IFOAM EU anticipates areas for which the Commission is likely to propose new or amended implementing rules, establishes and leads expert working groups, gathers organic stakeholders' input, and presents the Commission with a unified position from the organic movement.

More information on implementing rules regarding: