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New organic logo may cause confusion

A new EU logo for organic products could confuse consumers, says a leading agricultural group.

The European Commission has mandated the use of the new logo for organic products made within the EU – regardless of whether they already meet higher standards from other certifying bodies.

As of July 2010, items produced within the 27 EU states that meet the EU’s organic certification standards must bear a leaf-shaped mark chosen from entries to an online competition.

Optional for products from outside the EU, the mark must be used alongside any others representing national or private certification programmes.

‘We were concerned that it was too similar to our own trademark, so we sought legal advice and were told there’s no infringement,’ said LEAF spokesperson Jeremy Boxall.

‘People generally don’t like to be dictated to. On the other hand, perhaps it is a good idea to have one label that consumers can recognise in any country they visit.’

LEAF, whose clients include Avondale Wines and some Yvon Mau vineyards, does not certify organic products: rather, it promotes responsible farming and resource management.

He and others are concerned that consumers will assume the EU logo implies a higher level of commitment than it actually does.

‘We don’t think people who buy organic food are so much concerned about EU origins – as that it was produced to high environmental and animal welfare standards, and is free from GM and harmful additives,’ said Molly Conisbee, director of communications and campaigns at the Soil Association.

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Written by Maggie Rosen

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