How do you know if its organic?

All foods sold as organic in the UK must originate from farms, processors and importers that have been approved by an official certification body (CB). Producers using the word ‘organic’ must be registered with one of the CBs and comply with their standards. Mindful Mum has collated the ten approved UK certification bodies and logos below:

UK Organic Accreditation BodiesIn the UK, there are ten organic certification bodies, each of which inspects farms and factories to ensure they meet EU standards. They can also choose to impose extra requirements of their own.

Each certification body within the UK is given a UK code. The number awarded has nothing to do with stringency standards but rather the order in which DEFRA received applications from the certification body. Legally, a company does not need to show a certification symbol on pack but if the product has been produced and/or processed in the UK they must show the UK code.

The Soil Association is the largest certification boy in the UK and claims to have “the highest and most comprehensive standards for organic production and processing in the world”.

In summary UK organic certification regulations relates to:

Fertilisers:

Most synthetic fertilisers are ruled out. Instead, the soil is kept fertile with manure and crop rotation (alternating regular crops with others planted specifically to add nutrients to the soil). Fertilisers are also a major source of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas almost 300 times more potent than CO2

Pesticides:

Most herbicides, insecticides and fungicides are prohibited. Instead, pests are controlled primarily by predatory insects, weeding and the co-planting of crops that deter each other’s pests. A few non-synthetic pesticides are allowed as a last resort

Animal welfare:

Animals must have adequate space and access to free-range areas, and their feed must be organic. Minimum slaughter ages are specified and practices such as docking tails and cutting teeth are only allowed in certain circumstances

Additives:

Most colourings, preservatives and other additives – including aspartame, hydrogenated fat and monosodium glutamate – are prohibited. Only 36 additives are permitted, out of a total of at least 500. The Soil Association limits this further to 30

Source: Defra Compendium of UK Organic Standards

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