The Knesset’s Economic Affairs Committee has given its final seal of approval to a set of regulations for the oversight and certification of organic products.
In accordance with the new rules, official labels attesting to the products’ organic nature are to be affixed to packaging. The labels will confirm that the goods were grown under legally-established organic farming conditions, and that the products are indeed free of pesticides and other chemicals.
The credibility provided by the labels is meant to offset the significantly higher prices charged for the healthful products.
Last week’s move marked the conclusion of a seven-year battle to pass the legislation and draft the rules, which are to go into effect in January 2013.
The new regulations state that the inter-ministerial agency charged with overseeing organic farming will not affix imported products with its official seal unless the goods are certified by a recognized body in the country of origin.
Furthermore, the rules assert that the supervisory agency must routinely hold scheduled and surprise inspections of companies that grow, process and market organic products. Inspectors are to extract samples of animal products and areas of pasture, which are to be tested for nonorganic materials.
Companies that fail the inspection are to be required to get rid of the prohibited substances before their certification can be renewed.
The regulations also prohibit companies from utilizing practices that are harmful to the environment beyond a certain threshold.