28 Feb 2020

BIOFACH 2020 - our Integrity Review

Many old friends as well as new faces have visited our stand at BIOFACH 2020 this year and joined our presentations. What have we learned about organic integrity?

Two out of our four events specifically targeted organic integrity: in addition to the presentation on Check Organic, we held a congress-event on "Fraud, gaps and loopholes: private and public counteractions and enforcement to complement regulations". For this purpose, our director Gerald A. Herrmann brought together an interesting mix of speakers each of them playing his or her own specific role in enhancing integrity and transparency within the organic sector. Despite the time limit, the nearly two-hour long session allowed for fruitful discussions and left the audience with the overall impression that solutions to efficiently tackle organic fraud exist, and that some efforts are already being made.

More determination is needed to set real milestones

In our opinion, loopholes and gaps for fraud will persist as long as data on organically certified acreage and its potential yield is not digitally collected and published. If supply chain parties don't know how much organic produce can realistically be grown, how shall the sector, the operators, the certifiers and regulators detect where things are going wrong? We are worried that despite all efforts which are being made, the sector will remain unable to truly grab the problem at its roots.

Our proposed solution to this is comparing the “input volumes” starting with (potential) yields and the “output volumes” of a supply chain by mass balancing and thereby checking the plausibility of produced vs. sold organic quantities. For this purpose, we offer Check Organic, where the required data can easily be uploaded, where plausibility calculations happen automatically and where an intuitive traffic light system informs all users about the integrity status of suppliers and transactions. In this way, the most common fraud schemes that 'artificially augment' the quantity of organic products (use of falsified certificates and multiple quantity sales using different certificates such as EU-organic, USDA-organic, et al.) can be prevented. Hence all supply chain parties can significantly mitigate fraud risks, being ensured that they are really selling what their labels promise. We are convinced that if a tool like Check Organic is combined in a multifactorial approach alongside other analytical and non-analytical measures and the indispensable regulatory measures, eliminating organic fraud will be possible.

Click here to watch our YOUTUBE video of this year's Check Organic BIOFACH presentation.


Videos, summaries and slides of the congress presentations

We invite you to click on the links below to read our summaries, watch the videos and find the corresponding PowerPoint-slides of our esteemed speakers:


If you would like to watch all contributions in one video, please click here.