ARCHIVE: Organic certification bodies and standards
The Advisory Committee on Organic Standards (ACOS) is a non-executive non departmental public body which advises government on organic standards, approval of organic certifying bodies and R&D. It was preceded by UKROFS.
The approved UK certification bodies are listed separately.
Legislation and standards area
New EU Legislation and Guidance
New EU legislation on organic standards comes into force on 1 January 2009. This consists of Council Regulation (EC) 834/2007, implemented by Commission Regulation (EC) 889/2008 and Commission Regulation (EC) 1235/2008, organic imports implementing regulation. Council Regulation (EC) 834/2007 replaces Council Regulation (EEC) 2092/1991.
Defra has produced a guidance document (PDF 330 KB) on these new organic standards.
Since 1993 when EC Council Regulation 2092/91 became effective, organic food production has been strictly regulated.
Regulation 2092/91 sets out the inputs and practices which may be used in organic farming and growing, and the inspection system which must be put in place to ensure this. This Regulation also applies to processing, processing aids and ingredients in organic foods.
All foods sold as organic therefore must originate from growers, processors and importers who are registered with an approved certification body and subject to regular inspection.
In addition to these requirements, amending legislation enacted since the Compendium's publication will also be effective.
In this section we have brought together the legislation on organic standards as it applies in the UK:
- EU Legislation
- UK Legislation
If you have any comments or queries on this part of the Defra website please email us at email@example.com.
- Council Regulation 2092/91 (consolidate text, latest version, dated 1 January 2007)
- Recent amendments to Council Regulation 2092/91
See the Europa website for official texts of EU legislation.
Council Working Group on Organic Farming
- Report from 12 September 2006 (20 KB)
- Report from 13 July 2006 (35 KB)
- Report from 8 June 2006 (18 KB)
- Report from 29 May 2006 (25 KB)
- 5 February 2007: An information notice supplementing the note of 7 April 2006: Organic poultry: status of organic birds confined indoors to comply with veterinary requirements introduced in response to a threat of avian influenza (21 KB)
- 7 April 2006: An information notice supplementing the note of 23 February 2006: Organic poultry: status of organic birds confined indoors to comply with veterinary requirements introduced in response to a threat of avian influenza (19 KB)
- 23 February 2006: An information notice: Organic poultry: status of organic birds confined indoors to comply with veterinary requirements introduced in response to a threat of avian influenza (15 KB)
- 23 February 2006: An information notice: The use of combination ingredient cleaning agents in livestock building (24 KB)
- August 2005: Derogations to use non-organic feed for organic livestock
- industry guidance from Defra
New percentage requirements in relation to the use of non-organic feed by organic livestock producers come into effect from 25 August 2005. For more details please see Industry Guidance on use of non-organic feed.
- Conventional feed use - Industry guidance (37 KB) - updated January 2007
- New requirements for storage and warehousing as from 1 July 2005:
- Note concerning new requirements for storage and warehousing as from 1 July 2005 (12 KB)
- Organic Information Note 1 (20 KB) - 1 June 2005
- Organic Information Note 2 (21 KB) - 27 June 2005
Organic Information Note 3 (38 KB) - Storage of packed and labelled goods - 3 May 2006
- Compendium of UK Organic Standards (435 KB) - updated September 2006. Note: the minimum standards to be applied by Certification Bodies in the UK after 4 September 2006.
certification body and inspector approval control manual
(1.2 MB - NB large file) - October 2005
This control manual provides a detailed description of the way the organic approval process works.
- It has been decided to extend the Derogation on the housing of poultry (Compendium, Annex I B 8.5.1) to 31 December 2010 in line with the requirements of Regulation (EEC)2092/91. Correspondence concerning general derogation on the housing of poultry.
note on production of pullets by conventional producers for use in organic
systems - feed and veterinary applications
(64 KB) - updated April 2005
Since 31 December 2005 there was a new requirement that any non-organically reared pullets for egg production brought on to an organic holding will have to comply with the feed and veterinary medicine requirements of the organic regulations before they are brought on to that holding.
- If you are processing a product which requires the use of a non-organic ingredient see derogations for using non-organic ingredients in organic processed products.
- The Organic Products Regulations 2004 - Statutory Instrument relating to organic food and farming in the UK (OPSI website)
- The Organic Products (Imports from Third Countries) Regulations 2003 - Statutory Instrument relating to the control of imports into the EU of produce labelled as organic (OPSI website).
- Letter of 27 April 2005 from European Commission to Defra (11 KB) - concerning the exemption of organic catering establishments from the requirements of Council Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91
- Letter of 12 October 2005 from Defra to relevant parties (21 KB) - regarding the extension of a producer's licence to include the use of an unlicensed abattoir
- Accepted recommendations arising from 6 October ACOS meeting (13 KB)
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Page last modified: 13 January 2010
Page published: 1 July 2006