Emily Balsamo, Moscow Office, Bord Bia – Irish Food Board
In the past few years, city-dwelling Russians have developed a strong interest in healthier and organic food. However, presently there is no certification for organic products in Russia. Many products carry the labels “organic” or “bio” without certification. In 2012, several producers of such products wrote an open letter to the Russian Ministry of Agriculture demanding a certification process.
The Ministry of Agriculture responded with a draft law, “On the production of organic agricultural products and amendments to legislative acts of the Russian Federation,” dated November 26, 2012. The draft law designates that Russian organic standards will be consistent with EU Organic regulations and the National Organic Program in the United States. However, there is no regulatory body in Russia which is prepared to certify organic products at this time. Analysts believe that the responsibility of certification will be delegated to the Russian Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance, or that a new non-governmental regulatory authority will be founded. The draft law designates that in order for a product to be labeled “organic” or “bio,” the certification process will need to be passed.
Russian Government Agricultural experts are currently studying American, European and Japanese certification techniques. Harmonization with international and national standards is one of the main goals in producing organic and bio food legislation. The impetus for this move is widely considered to be Russia’s recent accession to the WTO. Russia producers are interested in taking advantage of the facilitated trade environment and have plans to export Russian-made organic products to the EU. However, certification will also allow for facilitated import of organic and bio products to Russia from the EU, as the draft legislation mandates that any product labeled organic under EU certification will maintain certification in Russia.
The law is expected to come into full effect in 2015.