Organic food production standards may vary worldwide; but in general they feature cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that promote cycling of resources, ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. The use of synthetic pesticides, fertilisers and food additives are prohibited in organic food production.
Organic food production within the EU is strictly regulated and the word "organic" is one that is strictly defined in law, and may only be used by producers and manufacturers who are registered with a recognised organic accreditation organisation.
Organic food producers must become registered, and have to ensure that they:
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is the authority responsible for organic farming regulations in the UK. The standards set by DEFRA conform to the minimum standards set by the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM). All organic certification must conform to these minimum standards; some certification bodies can set standards higher than the minimum baseline as defined in EU law.
Within the EU no seafood that has been captured or harvested from the wild may be called 'organic'. The rationale for this is that if you do not have a traceable history of the product, you cannot be sure that it will meet organic standards; wild fish therefore cannot be labelled as organic. Hence, only farmed fish can be meet organic standards and be labelled as such, with only salmon and trout currently being readily available.
How to find out more
If your business is considering moving to organic production standards, then careful consideration must be given to the time it will take to convert to full organic production, the operational costs involved and the changes to your business practices which will need to be made. Finding an appropriate control body and fully understanding their standards will be essential before applying to undertake the process. Below are provided some useful links to explore this process further.
Contacts and further info:
The Defra website with details on regulation, application and conversion to organic standards: click here
The Defra list of UK approved Control Bodies: click here