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Changes to Soil Association standards - November 2020

Soil Association standards changes v18.5

The Soil Association standards have been updated to version 18.5 as part of the planned updates schedule for 2020

The main changes are to the ‘Sourcing Organic Ingredients Annex’ (version 1.2) that details sourcing requirements for organic ingredients, or products brought in, throughout the supply chain. They include:

  • A new information requirement for oil palm ingredients used in Soil Association certified organic food and drink products
  • A new sourcing requirement for poultry range quality and cover

New information requirement for oil palm

We are introducing a new sourcing requirement for licensees who use oil palm ingredients in their Soil Association certified organic food and drink products*. By ‘oil palm ingredients’, we mean palm oil, palm kernel oil, palm fractions or derivatives (processed versions of palm oil or palm kernel oil, for example: stearin, olein, glycerol and tocopherol - only if you know them to be palm derived) you use in your organic food and drink products. At this stage, the requirement is only to supply your Certification Officer with information using this form.

Please download and fill out the form (above), and email it to your Certification Officer.

The reason we're gathering information (between November 2020 and November 2021) is so that we understand the extent to which ingredients compliant with our future sourcing requirement** are already available and being used in Soil Association supply chains.

The future sourcing requirement is designed to ensure that ‘HCVs’ (High Conservation Values, including primary forest) are safeguarded throughout oil palm supply chains destined for products certified to Soil Association standards. The Soil Association has higher standards than the legal baseline for organic with regards to HCV, so we have been working with an independent Task & Finish Group on Deforestation & Palm Oil to advise our approach. This expert group has advised that recognising oil palm certified to additional schemes in addition to organic (such as RSPO Identity Preserved, or Segregated) for oil palm ingredients - wherever possible - would be the most efficient way at present to ensure that HCVs are safeguarded and that the Soil Association’s higher standard is being met.

We know that a lot of organic oil palm ingredients already carry additional certifications (such as RSPO Identity Preserved, or Segregated). The information you provide, through this new information requirement, will better inform us, and help us to refine the future sourcing requirement, if necessary.

*This does not apply to the use of oil palm in Food For Life Served Here, animal feed, health and beauty, or cleaning products - our approach to oil palm use in these contexts is being considered separately.

**This proposed sourcing requirement is subject to change 

New sourcing requirement for poultry

Based on information received to date, the information requirement on the dimming of artificial light (3.12.9) for poultry has now been changed to a sourcing requirement.

The information requirement on Range Quality & Cover 3.12.16 for poultry has been extended from November 2020 to April 2021 to allow more data to be collected.

In addition, a small number of wording changes have been made to some standards and guidance across all Soil Association Standards documents to provide further clarification for clients. Download a summary of all of the changes in the Soil Association Standards and the EU Equivalent Standards for more information. Please note: these summaries do not include small changes to formatting, spelling and grammar. 
 
The updated versions of Soil Association Standards and the EU Equivalent Organic Standards are version number 18.5 and 1.5, respectively, and have replaced previous versions on the website. The updated version of the Soil Association sourcing annex is version 1.2.