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EU Commission embarrassed by logo error

Date Published: 28/03/2008

The European Commission appears to have been forced into an embarrassing climb-down on plans to introduce a new EU organic logo at the start of next year.

The (now defunct!) EU organic logo
The (now defunct!) EU organic logo

The already contentious design, which would have been compulsory on all organic packaged products produced in the EU has been scrapped after it was realised it was too similar to the organic logo used by German retailer, Aldi.

Richard Jacobs, Chief Executive of leading UK organic certifier, Organic Farmers & Growers (OF&G) said the last-minute ditching of the planned symbol was a farcical situation which could be costly for processors and retailers.

“We have gone from a situation where we found out at very short notice that this would be implemented from the beginning of 2009, to a state where our licensees and others are having to put the brakes on preparations they were making for the introduction of the logo.

“Processors and retailers who have been rushing to re-design labels and packaging now have to put that on hold again, even though they’ve already gone to the expense of starting the process. This is no way to run a single business, let alone a union of nation states!”

According to a number of sources, the Commission is now planning to run a competition in the summer for any citizen of the EU to submit designs for a new organic logo. It will be asking the Council to delay the introduction of the new symbol until 2010.

Mr Jacobs added: “This whole project has gone from bad to worse. There was only a nod to any kind of consultation process in the design stage and we were told the logo would be required from next year – a ridiculously short timeframe. To make matters worse the logo was to have the word ‘bio’ on it. This is not a word UK consumers recognise in relation to organic and is only likely to create confusion.

“While we are happy with the introduction of an EU-wide symbol, this whole process has been, frankly, a joke. We just hope the joke is not on members of the organic industry who have to soak up the costs of this farce.”