Preparing my business for organic certification
Preparing My Business For Organic Certification
At the application stage, you’ll be asked to demonstrate how your business meets the standards across a number of areas. To make your application journey run as smoothly as possible, we’ve created a guide to help you through this process. This guide outlines the key factors you’ll need to implement as part of your application. We have included the standard each area relates to in brackets.
Please note due to changes in regulation we have received an increased number of applications for Food and Drink licences which is increasing our application process times.
Your direct suppliers (including wholesalers and traders that sell pre-packed certified goods) must hold their own organic certificate for the products they will sell to you.
If correctly certified, your supplier will be able to provide a valid organic certificate and product schedule listing the products they are certified for. The company name on the certificate should match your supplier’s company name.
Record Keeping (5.7)
You will need to implement records to show:
- Goods in – each incoming delivery needs to be recorded, including quantities and batch numbers, the organic status checked and a record of the check kept
- Production/packing records (if applicable) – including what’s been made, quantities and batch numbers of ingredients and of finished products
- Goods out – including what was despatched, quantities and batch numbers
- Stock records – for raw materials and finished products
Labelling (5.8, 5.9, 5.10)
There are mandatory labelling criteria that must be met for organic products. This includes:
- The EU organic leaf logo (where applicable)
- The certification code of the final processor of the product (e.g. the Soil Association code is ‘GB-ORG-05’)
- A statement of agriculture to reflect the origin of the ingredients (e.g. ‘UK Agriculture’)
- The Soil Association organic logo (if certified to Soil Association standards)
- If a multi-ingredient product, ingredients must be declared in descending order by weight and the ingredient declaration must indicate which ingredients are organic and which are non-organic
- Printing labels - we advise against printing any labels until they have been sent in for approval and confirmed as compliant with the standards. Any labels printed prior to this is done so at your own risk
- Download the Soil Association organic symbol
Product Composition (6.3)
A product must contain at least 95% organic agricultural ingredients in order to be certified and labelled as organic. The 5% allowance can only be made up of certain approved ingredients as stipulated in the standards.
Salt and water cannot be organic, but are fine to use in organic products. These would not be included in the calculation. Most additives do not need to be included in the calculation, but some do. See the SA standards for full details.
Separation (6.1.4, 5.15.1)
If you intend to process, store, receive deliveries etc of both organic and non-organic goods at your site, you will need to consider safeguards to prevent contamination such as:
- Dedicated storage areas/equipment
- Thorough clean downs between processing with records to demonstrate this
- Bleed runs or purges with organic material
Importing into Great Britain
You must hold an organic processor licence in order to import organic products into Great Britain. Not all certification bodies and standards are accepted, and paper-based Certificates of Inspection (COI) must be in place for each consignment. Importing without a licence in place risks the products losing their organic status and the goods being held at port, where holding fees are usually charged. Where not licensed for importing, 1st consignees - i.e. those who 1st physically receive the goods may also require a licence.
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