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Soil Association launches food and drink standards consultation

Food and drink standards consultation

The Soil Association is consulting on proposed changes to its organic food and drink standards which cover food and drink manufacturing, packaging and labelling. Everyone with an interest in these areas is encouraged to take part in the public consultation, open until 28th January 2016: www.soilassociation.org/consultation

The proposed changes have been recommended by the Soil Association’s independent Processing Standards Committee and come as part of the broader Soil Association standards review. The updated Soil Association organic standards, published in 2017, will be clearer and more practical for farmers and food businesses to follow, and so have a bigger impact on the ground.

The proposals include retaining higher standards which prevent the use of food additives that pose a threat to human health, such as continuing to ban the use of manufactured nanoparticles. The use of natural flavours which have been extracted using solvents derived from fossil fuels such as acetone and hexane will also continue to be prohibited, to avoid the use of petrochemical-derived substances where there are alternatives available.

Under the proposals, some additives and processing aids which are permitted in the EU organic regulation and our research has found to be safe would be permitted in Soil Association standards in future. The consultation also asks whether controversial chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) should be prohibited from packaging for Soil Association organic goods because of its possible role as an endocrine disruptor. Other proposals for packaging include retaining the prohibition of components which have been shown to have a harmful impact on human health such as phthalates in coatings, dyes or inks in direct contact with food.

Chris Atkinson, head of standards at the Soil Association said; “The Soil Association has higher standards for organic food and drink, because we want to ensure that Soil Association organic products contain ingredients which are better for people and the environment. Our higher standards for labelling and packaging ensure that labelling is clear and honest, and that the environmental impact and risk to human health of packaging is minimised.

“We’ve always led the way in developing and implementing organic standards, which are designed to achieve change in the world – but they can also be cumbersome documents. Our standards review aims to make our organic standards more straightforward and practical whilst ensuring they have the maximum impact with the minimum hassle for licensees. We are keen to hear from anyone with an interest in food and drink manufacturing, labelling or packaging – your views on our proposals will help to shape the final standards, which will be published in 2017.”

The proposed new organic food and drink standards will be easier to understand and offer food businesses more freedom to innovate, by stating what is required rather than how to achieve it. Where Soil Association standards go above and beyond the law, the purpose of each of these higher standards will be made clear so they are transparent to consumers, farmers and food businesses.

For more information about the review, the Soil Association and to take part in the public consultation visit www.soilassociation.org/consultation


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Natasha Collins-Daniel, Press Office Manager – 0117 914 2448 / 07827 925380
Hayley Coristine, Digital Communications and Press Officer – 0117 314 5170

Soil Association and Soil Association Certification

The Soil Association was founded in 1946 by farmers, scientists, doctors and nutritionists to promote the connection between the health of the soil, food, animals, people and the environment. Today the Soil Association is the UK's leading membership charity campaigning for healthy, humane and sustainable food, farming and land use. Its Chief Executive is Helen Browning, and Chair of Trustees is Dennis Overton.

Soil Association Certification is a wholly owned subsidiary with an independent board chaired by Linda Campbell, which certifies over 70% of all organic products sold in the UK. Certifying organic food and farming since 1973, and more recently, organic textiles, health and beauty products, the team has built up extensive practical experience and provides unrivalled support before, during and after certification. It also audits other schemes within catering and forestry, including the Food for Life Catering Mark, and the FSC and PEFC forestry standards internationally, delivering assurances of quality and provenance that industry and consumers can trust. To find out more visit www.soilassociation.org