Does the Soil Association carry out any routine testing of food?
Our certification process does not rely on testing. To simply test the end product would undermine our philosophy and principles. There is not a test, for example, which shows that a farmer has provided adequate free ranging areas for his poultry.
Furthermore in order to do a test you have to specify what you are testing for. Organic food and farming methods cut out over 600 chemicals available to non organic farmers and food producers. It would be incredibly expensive and totally impractical to test products regularly for these. Instead our inspection and record keeping requirements are extremely thorough and reliable.
The only thing we regularly test for is GM contamination. If we were to suspect that something which is banned by our standards had been used in a particular product we would do a test for that as part of our investigation. We also carry out research into various products if we think that organic integrity might be at risk. Research projects to date have included investigations into the packing of fresh fruit and vegetables, grain and tea. However we will always investigate a complaint thoroughly.