The European Union is to allow organic farmers to give their livestock synthetic vitamins, according to the EU’s Official Journal.

The European Commission said it changed the EU’s rules under which organically produced livestock could only be given organic feed because animals were missing out on key vitamins, leading to health problems, reported Reuters. The change in legislation will allow organic farmers to feed vitamins A, D and E to their livestock until the end of 2005, providing the synthetic vitamins are identical to their natural counterparts.

The European Consumers’ Organisation (BEUC) questioned the decision but did not go as far as condemning it.

“We’re concerned when we see a weakening of the rules,” BEUC’s Food Policy Advisor Beate Kettlitz was quoted by Reuters as saying. “It undermines the philosophy behind organic products.”