BIO is a certification process for producers of organic food and other organic agricultural products. In general, any business directly involved in food production can be certified, including seed suppliers, farmers, food processors, retailers and restaurants.
Requirements vary from country to country, and generally involve a set of production standards for growing, storage, processing, packaging and shipping that include:
- avoidance of synthetic chemical inputs (e.g. fertilizer, pesticides, antibiotics, food additives), irradiation, and the use of sewage sludge.
- avoidance of genetically modified seed.
- use of farmland that has been free from prohibited chemical inputs for a number of years (often, three or more).
- for livestock, adhering to specific requirements for feed, housing, and breeding.
- keeping detailed written production and sales records (audit trail).
- maintaining strict physical separation of organic products from non-certified products.
- undergoing periodic on-site inspections.