Facts about organic food

What is organic food?

The information on this page lays out the facts about organic food – whether you're buying fresh produce or processed foods. For foods to be labelled as organic, at least 95% of the ingredients must come from organically produced plants and animals. Any food product sold as 'organic' falls under the EU regulations 834/2007 and 889/2008. This means that the product must have been produced to these regulations and inspected and certified by a registered certification body, such as Soil Association Certification

You can find out more about how organic food is produced by reading about organic farming and how organic animals are reared.

Identifying Soil Association certified organic food

All organic food must display the code number and prefix of the body that certified it, as well as the EU’s organic logol. In addition food certified by Soil Association Certification will also display our symbol. Organic products must meet all of the normal legal requirements for that product.

Non-organic ingredients

Because some ingredients are not available organically, up to 5% ingredients from a list of approved non-organic food ingredients are allowed. There are also a limited number of non-food ingredients such as salt, water, and a restricted number of additives and processing aids which are allowed, some of which are legally required (such as iron and thiamine in flour). All artificial colourings and sweeteners are banned in organic food.

There is an extremely strict list of permitted ingredients to ensure that nothing harmful or potentially harmful will be found in organic food. The labels on organic products must identify the organic and non-organic ingredients in the ingredients panel in the same colour, size and style of lettering as the organic ingredients.

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