- Legislation up to 1st January 2007
1.1. European regulations
In 1991, the European Council of Ministers of Agriculture adopted Regulation No 2092/91 /http://old.europe.bg/upload/docs/REGL91.pdf/ concerning the organic production of agricultural products and their designation. Its adoption is part of the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy of the EU and the completion of the process of official recognition of organic farming in the 15 EU Member States. Initially, it regulated only the organic production of plant products. Later, provisions were made on the production of animal products (1999). Additional provisions deal with import issues (1992) and the European logo for the designation of organic products (2000).
As a consequence of the numerous amendments and additions, that Regulation turned to be quite complicated and in 2007 it was repealed by Regulation 834/2007
1.2. Bulgarian legeslative documents
On the basis of the requirements and criteria for organic production laid down in Regulation No. 2092/91, two Ordinances are adopted in Bulgaria: Ordinance No 22 of 4 July 2001 on the organic production of plants, plant products and foods of plant origin and its designation and Ordinance No 35 of 30 August 2001 on the organic farming of animals and organic production of animal products and food of animal origin and its designation on them.
There two Ordinances:
- They fully reproduce the principles enshrined in European legislative documents and aim to harmonize Bulgarian national legislation with the European;
- They set the criteria for organically grown plants / biologically reared animals;
- They set the criteria for organically produced plant / animal food;
- They regulate the rules for the import of organic products;
- Regulate the control of organic production - selection of control bodies, requirements and registration regime, obligations of the control bodies, control practices in the production and import of organic products;
- They regulate the certification of producers and importers of organic products;
- They regulate labeling of organic products.
According to Ordinance No. 22 the plants and plant products are produced in a organic way when certain requirements are met:
- To have passed the transition period, ie. the organic production rules should be applied for at least 2 years prior to sowing the crops, and the most recent plants, except for meadows, at least 3 years before the first harvest;
- The fertility and biological activity of the soil to be maintained and enhanced by crops, green manure or deep-rooted plants under appropriate crop rotation through the use of manure or compost obtained from organic farms. Where it is not possible to properly fertilize the plants or to improve the soil under these conditions, the fertilizers listed in Annex 1 of Ordinance 22 can be used;
- The fight against pests, diseases and weeds on plants is carried out by selecting appropriate species and plant varieties, by appropriate crop rotation, appropriate soil treatment, by protecting the natural pests of the pests by weeding the weeds. In the case of an immediate danger endangering the plant, the use of the products listed in Annex 2 of the Ordinance;
- The seedlings, seeds and propagating material used have to be produced in a standardized manner and included in the electronic database of the Variety Testing, Approbation and Seed Control;
- The collection of uncultivated plants living in a natural environment is considered to be a viable method of production where the mode of harvest does not disturb the natural environment where in the past 3 years these areas have not been treated with products other than those listed in Annexes 1 and 2 and where these areas are not contaminated industrially.
According to Ordinance No 35, animal products are produced organically when the rules are follwed:
- Transition period: it applies both to the land from which the feed is produced and the farmed animals. Regarding the land, the provisions of Regulation 22 are applied, and in the case of animals the term varies between 6 weeks and 12 months depending on the species;
- Origin of the animals: they must come from an organic farm, in addition, must be selected for breeds that are well adapted to local conditions and resistant to diseases;
- Feeding of animals: animals must be fed with fodder-grown fodder and fed on maternal milk during the suckling period. Forced feeding is forbidden. It is forbidden to use antibiotics for growth-enhancing or productivity-enhancing substances;
- Disease prevention and treatment: appropriate animal breeds and selection methods should be selected to increase disease resistance, the animals have to be fed with a sufficient quantity of quality of food according to their species and age, regular walks and access to supplies to strengthen the body's defense, adequate stocking density to avoid overcrowding and related health issues are required. Phytotherapeutic, homeopathic preparations, trace elements and substances listed in Annex 3 of the Regulation are used for treatment. The use of allopathic veterinary medicinal products and hormones is prohibited;
- Livestock practices, transport and identification of animal products: Animals multiply by natural methods, some traditional but traumatic breeding practices are forbidden, bred animals are forbidden. Animals are transported in stress-relieving ways and loaded and unloaded naturally without the use of electronic stimulators;
- Fertilization: The maximum number of animals per hectare is determined so that the amount of excrement they are emitting is equivalent to 170 kg. nitrogen per hectare per year. The maximum number of animals corresponding to the quantity is given in Annex 12 of the Ordinance.
- Livestock and farm buildings: It is emphasised on open-air cultivation, and when climate conditions impose, animals are grown in buildings subject to certain requirements.
1.3. Legislation after 1 January 2007
After the accession of Bulgaria to the EU, all the norms on organic production laid down in the European legislative documents are directly applicable in Bulgaria.
National-specific are the procedures for implementing European legislation and authorities at national level.
1.3.1 European legislative documents
Since 2005, a new Regulation on organic production has started and, in June 2007, Council Regulation 834/2007 on organic production and labeling of organic products was adopted, repealing Regulation 2092/91. The new Regulation is to apply from 1 January 2009. The purpose of this Regulation is to "establish a common Community framework for organic production with regard to plant production, livestock production and aquaculture, including rules on the harvesting of wild plants and marine algae, provisions on the transition to organic production, and provisions for the production of processed foods, including wine, feed and organic yeast. "