In Russia, up to 80% of organic food in retail stores is said to be counterfeit. This is the conclusion of a study by Roskachestvo, an independent company that examines the quality of goods in Russia.

The auditors point out that there is significantly less fraud in imported products with European organic certificates. Only 3% to 5% of these goods were found to be counterfeit. The majority of the counterfeits can be traced back to domestic manufacturers, although organic labeling has been regulated by law in Russia since the beginning of 2020. According to the Executive Director of the National Organic Association, Oleg Mironenko, insufficient state supervision is said to be the reason for this problem. In fact, except for some retail chains, no one actually cares about the authenticity of the products, he said. There are quite a number of organizations willing to falsify organic certificates for a fee, he said. The law on organic farming had come into force in Russia in January 2020, but is not being properly enforced. The Russian Ministry of Agriculture has not yet determined which body will be responsible for monitoring and how this will be implemented; authorities are arguing over responsibility. For example, some producers use organic labels in English and refer to their products as "organic," even though the law requires the use of Russian on the label. It should be possible for producers to obtain an organic certificate from non-officially accredited certification companies within two to three days. The cost is the equivalent of 139 euros to 5 028 euros. After the law on organic food came into force, market experts had initially noticed that the amount of counterfeit products decreased. However, from the middle of 2020 until today, the situation began to deteriorate again. In 2018, the turnover of the organic market in Russia amounted to 160 million euros; according to expert estimates, the total potential in the future is 3 billion euros to 5 billion euros. In the next six years, 15% to 25% of the population is expected to buy organic products; the potential area under organic cultivation in Russia is estimated at about 12 million ha.

Source: Agra-Europe 09/2021

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