Primary products and food
Agrarmarkt Austria (AMA) Organic Seal Guidelines
The AMA Organic Seal Guidelines describe a voluntary quality assurance system for slaughterhouses and cutting plants, processing plants, packaging and storage facilities, food retailers and direct sellers. The guidelines regulate essential manufacturing, labelling and documentation steps, as well as measures for ensuring high levels of hygiene for processed products resulting from organic production. 100 % of the agricultural ingredients must originate from organic production. The production regulations for primary production are set out in Regulation (EC) No 834/2007. Furthermore, the majority (more than 50 % by weight of the annual amount) of the certified organic ingredients used must come from recognised quality assurance systems.
Food bearing the AMA organic seal has to comply with the legal provisions, the relevant guidelines related to the product laid down in the Austrian Food Code (an objective description of consumer expectations) and the specific criteria set out in the AMA Organic Seal Guidelines. Within the framework of the AMA organic seal, huge importance is placed on increased levels of hygiene in the products and production facilities; in some cases, this goes beyond ‘good hygiene practice’ and consumer health protection measures (e.g. HACCP). The traceability of the raw materials and food production (processing locations) shall be ensured by appropriate batch labelling and documentation.
The origin of the ingredients used must also be labelled. The indication of origin shall be based on either a region, such as a province/federal state (e.g. Tyrol, Bavaria) or country (e.g. Austria, France), or a general area covering various states or countries (e.g. the Tauern region, the Alps, the EU). The region in which all processing steps take place and from which all the main raw materials of the product being labelled originate shall be deemed the region of origin. For organically produced products whose origin cannot be labelled in accordance with the AMA Organic Seal Guidelines, the AMA organic seal shall be used without any indication of the origin; the origin of the organic ingredients must be traceable in this case too. The statement of indication of origin is for consumer information purposes only.
Compliance with the requirements of the AMA Organic Seal Guidelines shall be assessed using a three-stage monitoring system: self-checks carried out by the business itself, external checks by independent monitoring authorities/laboratories approved by AMA Marketing, and supervision of external checks, commissioned directly by AMA Marketing.
Participation in the AMA organic seal scheme is voluntary. A licensing agreement must be signed between AMA Marketing and the licensee (manufacturer or trader of processed products). The agreement may only be entered into if the result of the initial inspection is positive.