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May 15, 2006

UK: Soil Association warns organic frauds

The UK’s Soil Association has released a statement regarding a television documentary about non-genuine organic meat producers – vowing to smoke out the fraudsters involved.

The UK’s Soil Association has released a statement regarding a television documentary about non-genuine organic meat producers – vowing to smoke out the fraudsters involved.


ITV’s West Eye View programme will be broadcast in the UK tonight (16 May), exposing butchers who are selling organic meat that is actually farmed by normal methods


“The Soil Association welcomes the investigations undertaken by ITV West Eye View. Over the past 60 years, we have worked to develop the principles, standards and practices of organic food and farming, which are now set down in UK, European and International law and regulations,” the statement said.


Following West Eye View’s investigations, the Soil Association has vowed to inspect one unlicensed farm in particular.


The association said: “The most serious apparent breach of our standards concerned a Soil Association licensee selling meat products for which he did not have the appropriate processing licence.


“On receiving confirmation of the identity of this licensee, the Soil Association undertook an immediate unannounced inspection. Our investigations are still in progress, but the licensee was immediately prohibited from selling any of the suspect product ranges as organic.


“Depending on their response to this serious non-compliance, the outcome could be suspension of their licence to process and sell any produce directly to the public as organic.”


Further measures will include letters to producers emphasising organic compliance required from licensees, and the possible introduction of a ‘Roving Inspector’ to carry out surveillance of wider trade outside Soil Association licensees.


The association has, in the past, considered 14 cases of licensees in breach of licence requirements and organic regulations, with seven terminated by the organisation.


Other cases exposed in the programme showed non-Soil Association licensees selling unpackaged meat as organic without any proof.


“The issue here appears to be more around ignorance of the law rather than deliberate attempts to deceive or defraud the public,” added the Soil Association.

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