Organic products ranging from food to health and beauty are now broadly understood around the globe as; pesticide free, additive free and natural- which is fab, because they are.
But manure aside, there is a bigger and more inclusive set of rules, regulations and
standards that Soil
Association Certified Organic products must all adhere to in order to make the grade and be awarded the coveted logo for use on packaging and advertising.
The Soil Association has four main principles for organic agriculture (the starting point for all organic products):1. The principle of health: “This principle points out that the health of individuals and communities cannot be separated from the health of ecosystems – healthy soils produce healthy crops that foster the health of animals and people.” 2. The principle of ecology: “This principle roots organic agriculture within living ecological systems. It states that production is to be based on ecological processes, and recycling.” 3. The principle of fairness: “This principle emphasises that those involved in organic agriculture should conduct human relationships in a manner that ensures fairness at all levels and to all parties – farmers, workers, processors, distributors, traders and consumers.” 4. The principle of care: “Organic Agriculture should be managed in a precautionary and responsible manner to protect the health and well-being of current and future
generations and the environment.”
In addition to these main principles, Soil Association Organic Certification will always mean that animals and eggs are free-range as standard and that a concerted effort has been made to reduce and recycle as much biodegradable packaging as possible from the most eco-friendly materials available.
There a number of different certification bodies in the UK which carry out the inspections and paperwork to ensure that the standards are being met. The Soil Association is one of only a very few of these bodies that have chosen to set standards that are higher than the EU minimum in several areas such as GM, animal welfare and nature conservation. They have also developed standards for areas not covered by government or EU regulations. These include fish farming, textiles and health and beauty care products.