Europe chooses new mandatory logo for organic products

A student from Germany has won a competition to find a new logo for organic products produced in the European Union.

Over the past two months, 130,000 people have voted online in a European Commission competition to choose the new organic symbol from three finalists. The winning design is by Dusan Milenkovic, who gained 63% of the overall vote for his 'Euro-leaf' design.

The competition was more than a little fun, however. From 1 July, the organic logo will be obligatory on all pre-packaged organic products that have been produced in an EU member state. It will be optional for imported products.

Other private, regional or national logos will be allowed to appear alongside the EU label. The organic farming regulation will be amended in the coming weeks to introduce the new logo into one of the annexes.

"I'm delighted that we now have a fresh EU organic food logo," said Mariann Fischer Boel, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development. "This exercise has raised the profile of organic food and we now have a logo which everyone will be able to identify with. It's a nice elegant design and I look forward to buying products carrying this logo from July this year."

The winning logo was the result of a pan-European contest open to art and design students. The Euro-leaf design shows the EU stars in the shape of a leaf against a green background.

The winner and two runners-up will be honoured by the European Commission's Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development at an official award ceremony that will take place in Brussels in July 2010. The three will receive prizes of €6,000, €3,500 and €2,500.

The route to finding an organic logo for the EU hasn't always been easy. In 2008, the Commission was forced to abandon its first attempt at a design because it resembled too closely a motif used by German discount retailer Aldi on its own-label organic products. The EU logo also contained the word 'Bio' which in English means probiotic rather than organic.

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