How are organic products certified, labelled and categorised on the mapping?
About organic food products
For UK food products the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) sets organic standards (based on EU regulations) and accredits a number of certification bodies to inspect organic production and processing to ensure that standards are adhered to.
Food products sold in the UK can only use the term organic on labelling if they are certified by one of these bodies, or for imported products an equivalent body in the country of origin. The product's label must also include the text 'GB-ORG' along with a 1-2 digit reference number that is individual to the certification body, unless the product is manufactured in a different country in which case the code will be different. The certification body logo may be included too.
From 1 July 2010, shoppers will also begin to see a new EU Organic Euro-leaf logo appearing on pre-packed organic food products alongside the code described above. The logos use will be obligatory for products that have been produced in the 27 EU member states and which meet the necessary standards, and optional for products imported from non-EU countries. Companies will have until 1 July 2012 to amend current designs to include the new logo.
Categorising organic food products on the Purple Mapping
Businesses selling products bearing the new EU Organic Euro-leaf logo can be categorised under this ethical standards label on the Purple Mapping.
The Soil Association Organic Standard is a DEFRA accredited organic certification body so products it certifies will carry the EU Organic Euro-leaf logo. However it is also listed in on the Purple Mapping as an ethical standards label in its own right.
This is because it also sets its own standards for food production which exceed DEFRAâ€™s minimum requirements and requires businesses that it certifies to use the Soil Association Organic Standard symbol on product labels, so making these products easily recognisable by consumers. In addition it sets its own standards for certifying non food items as organic.
Therefore businesses selling products bearing the Soil Association Organic Standard symbol can be categorised as such on the mapping.
However businesses selling organic food produce certified by another of the DEFRA accredited certification bodies can be listed in the directory by tagging the entry as organic under ethics keywords until the new EU Organic Euro Leaf logo has been fully rolled out.
Categorising non food organic products on the Purple Mapping
There are no EU regulations covering organic standards for non food products.
However the Soil Association Organic Standard set their own standards for non food organic products such as health and beauty products. Also the Global Organic Textile Standard sets standards for textiles. So businesses selling products bearing these logos can be categorised as such under ethical standards label in the Purple Mapping.
Businesses selling non food products with ingredients grown according to organic principles, but not certified by either of the ethical standard systems mentioned above, may be tagged as organic under ethics keywords. However please be aware that this claim may not have been verified by any third party due to the lack of EU regulations covering organic non food products.