Turkey's Agriculture Ministry updated its organic farming regulations to harmonize with relevant European Union standards and published it on Friday.
The regulations cover a range of activities from organic farm inputs to storage and marketing.
The regulations carry more comprehensive descriptions related to organic farming and include a definition of genetically modified organisms (GMO). Accordingly, a GMO is either a substance with GMO content, comprised of GMOs, or a GMO derivative.
The new regulations also establish fines and other punitive measures for violations.
A previous condition for organic farming was terminated. It stipulated that farms be located a minimum of one to three kilometers away from highways, heavy industrial facilities, reactors, hydraulic and thermal power stations, mines and public dump sites.
From now on, controlling and/or certification agencies will decide whether organic farming can be done at a particular spot where contamination may exist. Such agencies will supervise farming activities in line with a contract signed with the farmer.
Buildings, equipment and tools used in conventional production will have to be washed and cleaned with materials specified by the regulations before they can be used for organic farming purposes. Farmers will not be required to have education or former organic farming experience. A single farm can not produce similar organic and inorganic crops. The use of GMO reproduction materials is prohibited.
Further, industrial and urban wastewater and sewer waters cannot be used in organic farming and irrigation water should be of a quality that doesn't cause contamination or deterioration in soil quality or contribute to erosion. Hand picking tools need to be hygienic.
The regulations cover in detail poultry houses and feed and other issues related to poultry bred for organic farming, including, for example, limits to the number of animals living in a single shed of particular size and the amount of time chickens could be exposed to natural and artificial light in one day.
There are rules that poultry and livestock transfers be performed quickly and without stress on the animals. Truck drivers are required to take breaks every eight hours to feed and water their animal cargo.
Among other parameters, the flight radius of organic bee farms should not exceed three kilometers from their hives and beekeepers are not allowed to engage in conventional beekeeping in the same area. All nectar and pollen sources in the apiary area will consist of organic plants or natural flora.
Farmers are responsible for registering all sorts of inputs and materials used in their organic production.
The new rules prohibit the use of such prefixes as "bio," "eco," and "org" or any other connotative labeling or package design on inorganic produce.
Furthermore, ionic radiation cannot be used to process organic produce and the packages have to carry the title, code number, certificate number and logo of the authorized agency.
Organic produce will be stored in a fashion where they can be identified and not mixed with other inorganic produce or substances.
Punitive measures against individuals who breach the clauses of the regulations entail up to a five-year ban from organic farming.
The regulations also define the shapes and types of logos that should be printed on the packages of organic produce.