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Introduction to organic certification for farmers and growers

In order to sell produce as organic, you must be registered with one of the control bodies (formerly known as organic certification bodies) listed on this sheet. They are private companies who are licensed by the UK government to enforce the organic standards. The standards cover all aspects of organic production from soil treatments and animal feeds to health plans and manure management. Minimum standards are set by the European Union and interpreted by DEFRA under the guidance of the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS). The control bodies are responsible for the implementation of the standards at farm level, and may sometimes add requirements of their own.

Besides certifying producers, the control bodies license other elements of the food production chain, including processors and abattoirs. They may also certify imported organic food. When you apply for certification, you will receive a copy of that organization's standards, and you will be required to follow these at all times. To prove that you are following them you will have to keep detailed records, and be visited by an inspector once a year. The standards include an element of flexibility allowing cases to be judged individually. In certain cases you may apply to your control body for a 'derogation' or official permission to waive the requirements, particularly as the organic market is still developing and organic inputs may be scarce. read more   

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