Control and certification of ecological medicinal and aromatic plants in Croatia
According to the Council Regulation of the European Union, Organic production (‘organic’, ‘biological’) is defined as a separate sustainable management system in agriculture and forestry, which includes the cultivation of plants and animals, the production of food, raw materials and natural fibres and the processing of primary products, and includes all ecologically, economically and socially justified production methods, best utilizing the fertility of the soil and available water, natural properties of plants, increasing the yield and resistance of plants by natural forces and laws.
The role and importance of organic production lie in the sustainable management of natural resources (preserves soil fertility, flora and fauna, water and atmosphere), forbids the use of chemical means of protection and fertilizers, restoring balance to nature and thus preserves biodiversity, encourages rural development and facilitates the development of small family farms, contributes to the development of eco-tourism and eco-villages and thus links agricultural, tourism and craft activities.
Product Certification Service within Croatian Forest Company d.o.o. was established with the aim of branding non-wood forest products as organic. With the development of environmental and health awareness, the number of certification requirements for other agricultural and food products has increased. For this purpose, all necessary actions and additional training of employees were carried out. In 2017, the re-accreditation of the Product Certification Service according to the standard HRN EN ISO / IEC 17065: 2013 was successfully completed for a period of 5 years.
The organic production of medicinal and aromatic plants seeks to maintain biodiversity by preserving wild plant species, beneficial insects, birds and other fauna that maintain the stability of natural habitats. The use of medicinal plants for medicinal purposes requires products that are not contaminated with pesticides and other residues and are not related to genetically modified organisms. It can be certified as an organic product by wild plants or from cultivation. The species most commonly certified as an organic product: chamomile, immortelle, lavender, melissa and lemon balm.
Impacts and weaknesses
Among the many types of medicinal herbs, the chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.), which accounts for over 60% of Croatian production, is particularly attractive. The second specie is lavender, followed by lemon balm and mint. Among the wild medicinal and aromatic plants in the total collected amount of all plant parts, the highest is the above ground part of the immortelle (Helichrysum italicum), almost 95%. The leaves, shoots and buds of laurel (Laurus nobilis) are 2,06%, the wild rose (Rosa canina) 1,07% and the above ground parts of common Saint John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) 0,24%.
Steps to the eco-label for medicinal and aromatic plants: (1) Familiarization with the certification process, (2) Application for certification of organic production/processing, (3) Verification of all necessary permits for the collection of medicinal and aromatic plants, (4) Fieldwork (5) Entry of the subject in the Register of organic producers of medicinal and aromatic plants, (6) Application for certification/certificate.
Processing/drying process - a special record is kept of the drying method.
Aromatic oils and hydrolats are certified by private standards.