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Organic Food Authentication: Challenge or Utopia?

Geel, Belgium
November 30 - December 1, 2009

Scope of the workshop

Organic agriculture is developing rapidly and its share of agricultural land and farms continues to grow in many countries. Policy makers have approved support for the development of organic farming as a sustainable agricultural system. In the European Union, such support includes the European Union’s rural development programmes, the recently revised EU regulation on organic farming and the European Action Plan on Organic Food and Farming.

The rapid development of the organic sector and the ever-increasing demand for organic products brings new challenges for the international organic food certification and guarantee systems. Organic produce remains amongst the most difficult to monitor and control. Indeed, currently all scientists can do is test for what should not be there (e.g. chemical pesticide residues).

In this context, the development of a strategy to authenticate organic food products is highly desirable in support to the certification and inspection systems. By bringing together the main groups working in the field, this workshop will present a balanced overview of the state-of-the-art research in this topic. Participants will have the opportunity to brainstorm and identify the best approaches for meeting the challenges of organic food authentication.

Update Nov 2009: Download the final programme[108Kb]

Themes of the workshop

  • regulations and certification systems

  • fraud cases

  • potential “markers”

  • potential analytical tools

  • challenges & research needs


Oral presentations are 45 minutes for invited contributions and 20 minutes for regular contributions. One poster session is foreseen. The Scientific Committee will inform participants about the selection of oral and poster presentations by 30 September 2009. Subjects must refer to the authentication issue but on any non-processed or processed organic food commodities as well as organic feed.

The presentations have been published on the website with agreement of all authors. They consist of 2 parts:

Abstracts and full contributions

Abstracts and posters will be published in the proceedings. Printed copies for the participants and an electronic version for general distribution will be made available. It is also intended to publish the contributions in a peer-review journal.

Abstracts for oral presentations or posters should be submitted using this abstract format[36Kb]. Please use only this style sheet, as it will directly be transferred into the conference proceedings. Abstracts should be a maximum of one A4 page - longer abstracts will be truncated. The Scientific Committee will inform participants about the selection of oral and poster presentations by 30th September 2009. Abstracts should be submitted by email to , with 'abstract submmission' in the subject header, by 20 September 2009 at the latest.

Instructions for the full paper will be available on the website in due time.

Scientific Committee

C. Benbrook Organic Center, U.S.A.
K. Brandt Newcastle Univ., U.K.
B. Huber FiBL, Switzerland
J.-F. Hulot EC, DG AGRI, Belgium
S. Kelly UEA, U.K.
D. Lairon Univ. Méditerranée, France
Y. Larondelle UCL, Belgium
M. Lees Eurofins, France
P. Loeckx UNAB / CEP, Belgium
A. Maquet EC, JRC-IRMM, Belgium
C. Stopes IFOAM EU, Belgium
B. Van Elzakker Agro Eco, LBI, The Netherlands
S. Rollinson Food Standards Agency, UK


Update June 2009 - Online registration is now open:

If you do not have a personal account yet you will need to create one before you can log on. To register, select Geel, November, International Workshop on Organic Food and follow the on-screen instructions. Click “Register” at the bottom of the form, even if you do not know your travel or hotel arrangements yet, as this can be updated by you a later time (but before the deadline of 1 October 2009). 

Registration is on a first-come / first-served basis, and is limited to 80 participants. When 80 participants have registered, interested participants will be placed on a waiting list - which will be activated in case of non-payment or cancellation by registered participants.

Registration fee

The registration fee of €200 covers:

  • coffee, tea and refreshments during breaks throughout the workshop

  • lunch on 30 November & 1 December 2009

  • workshop dinner on 30 November 2009

  • workshop proceedings

  • admission to oral and poster presentations

  • transport (see below)

Payment by bank transfer will be accepted after 1 October 2009, and each registered participant will get an email with the payment instructions. The deadline to pay is 24 October 2009. If the payment is not received in time, the registration will be cancelled. A receipt of payment will be given during the workshop on request. No registration can be accepted after 1 October 2009. All registrations will be confirmed via email when the JRC-IRMM has received payment. No other forms of payment for registration will be accepted and on-site registration is not possible.

Cancellation policy

Cancellation of registration before 5 November 2009 in writing via mail, fax, or email will result in a full refund. No refunds will be given after 5 November 2009, but substitution of delegates will be permitted.

Letters of invitation

To assist with visa applications, delegates may request from the workshop secretariat a personal invitation for participation in the workshop. It should be understood that such invitation is only to help participants to obtain a visa and in no way constitutes a commitment of the organizers to provide any financial support. Invitation letters will be issued only when the workshop secretariat has received full payment for registration as a workshop participant

Accommodation and travel

JRC-IRMM has reserved a number of rooms at hotel Corsendonk Viane, Korte Vianestraat 2, 2300 Turnhout, Belgium, and will confirm the room reservation on your behalf. You will have to pay the hotel directly, and the rate for a single room, including breakfast, is €95.00 per night.


JRC-IRMM will take care of the following transport, if required:

  • from Brussels (Zaventem) airport to the hotel on 29 November 2009

  • from / to the hotel and from / to IRMM on the evening and morning on 30 November 2009 and 1 December 2009

  • from JRC-IRMM to Brussels (Zaventem) airport on 1 December 2009

The various options are indicated on the registration form.


Mrs B. Kortsen at

Important Dates

15 Mar 2009 first announcement
17 Jun 2009 registration open
17 Jun 2009 preliminary programme
31 Aug 2009 - extended to 20 Sep 2009 deadline for abstracts
30 Sep 2009 confirmation for selected papers
1 Oct 2009 - extended to 24 Oct 2009 deadline for registration
1 Oct 2009 instruction for payment
24 Oct 2009 - extended to 30 Oct 2009 deadline for payment
24 Oct 2009 final programme
30 Nov - 1 Dec 2009 workshop

Related events

Participants may also be interested to attend the final meeting of the FP6 TRACE project 2-3 December 2009, Brussels. (The 5-year TRACE project - sponsored by the European Commission - aims to improve the health and well-being of European citizens by delivering improved traceability of food products.)

Latest update 5 July, 2010

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