Exports of Demeter Products to China

Exports of Demeter Products to China

(From Biodynamics in the World: The Newsletter of The Agricultural Section at the Goetheanum,
the International Biodynamic Association (IBDA) and Demeter-International e.V., March 2017)

The Chinese market is more and more interested in Demeter products, especially Demeter wines. Demeter Germany, represented by Nina Weis, took part in Prowine Shanghai in November 2016.

Labelling is a crucial issue since the Chinese organic certification is expensive and has additional requirements. Very few organic certifiers outside China are entitled to offer the Chinese organic certification (e.g. ECOCERT, CERES).

The additional certification has to be applied to the whole chain, e. g. producer, processor and exporter, which can be simple for vintners, but more difficult for mixed products with several ingredients.

Examples of major differences to EEC organic are:
 inspection has to be close to harvest time because a product sample has to be taken (not only a leaf sample). For processing, the inspection has to be done when organic produce is being processing;
 there has to be soil, air and irrigation water quality assurance for the production site (can be via a test report or information from government website);
 there has to be an Quality Management System in place (e.g. for planting, cleaning, storage);
 the next inspection and evaluation must be finished before the old certification expires;
 at least 12 months of conversion time is required even for EEC organic farming or fallow land.

Although our standards allow the use of the Demeter logo, if organic standards like the EEC organic regulation, NOP or similar are met, we do recommend having the Chinese organic certification for exports to China.

The whole communication of Demeter is based on the organic certification. However according to our information it is legally permitted to use the Demeter logo in China without any reference to organic (information not guaranteed).

By Cornelia Hauenschild