Organic dairy farming

The first organic food production legislation was back in 1987, and two years later, the now well-known Ø-logo was launched as a control mark.

What is organic farming?

The Danish Ø-logo attests to that the Danish state having checked and approved that the farmer and the company comply with the organic rules, and that the processing or packaging of the food has taken place in Denmark. The Ø-logo guarantees the consumer that the food is organic. The Ø-logo is today well-known by 98% of Danish consumers.

In 2010, the EU also enforced a logo for organic production, which is mandatory on all organic foods sold as organic in the EU. Both the green EU organic logo and the red Danish Ø-logo are based on EU organic regulations - Council regulation 834/2007 and Commission regulation 889/2008 - which indicate the common organic rules in the EU.

The Danish dairies with organic milk distribution as well as organic cattle abattoirs have also joined industry recommendations that contain rules that go beyond the European rules. Organic milk producers must follow industry recommendations and European rules to sell their milk and meat to their products.

The organic rules for the milk producers are:

  • The cows must be fed 100% organic feed and at least 60% of the daily feed ration must be grass or other fodder. Feed must not be used that contains or is produced from genetically modified organisms (GMO).
  • The cows must have access to grass field for at least 6 light hours daily from April 15 to 1st November when the weather conditions, soil condition and the physical condition of the animals allow it
  • The cow and its calf must stay together at least one day after birth. The calf must be fed with breast milk for at least 3 months after birth.
  • Calves under 3 months must not be sold out of the country.
  • It is forbidden to kill calves systematically (however, it is allowed on farms with ongoing Salmonella Dublin).
  • There must be access to skincare (cow bristle) in all stable sections and on the grass field
  • If a cow is treated with medicine the milk and meat must not be sold for twice as long as for the conventional cow's treatment. It must be a veterinarian who prescribes medication and treats the cow.
  • There is a ban on the use of human-critical antibiotics for cattle.   
  • The milk producer is not allowed to use use fertilisers and pesticides on his fields. He should instead use natural fertiliser (slurry) as well as frequent crop rotations and weed removal machines.