Sales of organic food and drink products increased 4% in the UK last year

Sales of organic food and drink products increased 4% in the UK last year

The Soil Association, the UK body that issues organic certification, is reviewing its standards and looking to simplify the process.

The body, which has been certifying organic food since 1973, wants to make certification a more straightforward undertaking and has embarked upon a consultation process. 

"We want our standards to have the maximum impact with the minimum hassle for licensees," the association said. "We've led the way in setting organic standards. Nevertheless, they have evolved over decades and now run to hundreds of pages. So they could be even clearer, simpler and have greater impact."

Businesses and farmers will be given more freedom to develop their own ways of meeting the criteria; the standards will only stipulate what is required, not how to achieve it. 

The association will also explain the difference that the additional organic standards make in the world, and ensure the benefits are significant. 

More transparency will help give the public a better understanding of the benefits of organic production, building confidence and interest in organic. 

A public consultation on the association's proposed new organic processing standards will be launched next month and the new standards published in 2017.

Public consultations on proposed new aquaculture standards have already taken place earlier this summer, and they will be unveiled in January.