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Organic standards and regulations

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Organic farming is based on four key principles, those of health, ecology, care and fairness. Every thing that organic farmers or don't do relates back to one or more of these principles and the role of the organic standards to put them into practice at farm level. This section explains the regulatory and the certification system around organic food and farming and provides links to some important resources.

The term 'organic' has a very specific meaning. It is written into EU regulations ((EC) No 834/2007 and (EC) No 889/2008) which are effectively minimum standards applicable across the whole of the EU. The EU Regulations have recently been revised, and the new regulation came into force on 1 January 2009. Read our factsheets summarising the main changes for producers and on the implications for labelling for more information
Member states interpret the rules and apply them in their own countries. The UK standards are set out in the DEFRA 'Guidance Document on European Organic Standards'.

In the UK private 'control bodies' (formerly known as certification bodies) are responsible for the implementation of the standards at farm level. They do this mainly through an annual inspection and occasional spot inspections. Read our Factsheet [link::c4_certific2010bi.pdf:Introduction to organic certification for farmers and growers] for more information and contact details of the main control bodies in Wales.

As the organic sector grows and develops, so do the standards, for example to respond to a changing situation or bringing organic farming systems more in line with the principles. Changes to standards can be made at EU, UK (DEFRA) or private control level, so it is important that you stay in touch with the requirements of your chosen control body.

For information on genetically modified crops, click here.
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ADAS logo Aberystwyth University logo Organic Research Centre Elm Farm logo
Organic Centre Wales, IBERS, Gogerddan Campus
Aberystwyth University, Ceredigion, SY23 3EB
T:01970 622248   E: organic@aber.ac.uk
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logo of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural DevelopmentWelsh Assembly Government logo
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