Our credentials

Soil Association organic symbol scheme

The Soil Association licenses Soil Association Certification to be the sole operator of its organic certification scheme. The Soil Association standards incorporate the EU organic regulation; certification to this scheme therefore permits the licensee to market their food and feed products as organic anywhere within Europe, and in association with the Soil Association organic symbol. 

Our primary business is certifying to the Soil Association standards in the UK and the rest of the European Union. In order to certify the production of food and feed as organic anywhere in the EU, all certification bodies (CBs) must enforce the EU organic regulation as a minimum. So whilst the Soil Association standards are privately owned and far exceed the European norm, they necessarily incorporate the requirements of regulations (EC) 834/2007 and 889/2008.

The authority to certify in the EU is ultimately granted by the European Commission, but responsibility of controlling implementation of the regulation is delegated to the competent authority in each member state. As the UK authority, Defra oversees the operations of the CBs currently certifying in this country.

The EU regulation requires all CBs to be accredited to European standard EN45011 or its international equivalent ISO/IEC Guide 65, General Requirements for bodies operating product certification systems. Accreditation to this standard is carried out by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) on behalf of Defra.

EN45011 ensures that a body operating a certification system does so in a ‘consistent and reliable manner’, concerning methods of inspection and conformity assessment, competence, organisational structure, relationships with any closely related bodies, quality management and internal control. A normal accreditation year involves a four-day audit and two witnessed inspections by UKAS.

The organic symbol scheme includes the following scopes:

  • Production of food and feed
    For farmers and growers of either organic or in-conversion crops, livestock and aquaculture products, on-farm packers, wild-harvest operations and livestock markets. Required for sale as organic in the EU.
     
  • Processing, packing and distribution of food and feed products
    For food manufacturers, importers, exporters, packers, retailers, brandholders, abattoirs, on-farm processors, seed mills, feed mills, storage and wholesalers. Required for sale as organic in the EU.
     
  • Textiles
    For manufacturers, processors, packers, brandholders, importers, exporters, retailers and wholesalers of textiles products. Not legally required for sale as organic.  The Soil Association standards incorporate the Global Organic Textiles Standards (GOTS); this scheme therefore permits operators to apply the GOTS logo on product packaging.
     
  • Health & beauty
    For manufacturers, processors, packers, brandholders, importers and retailers of health & beauty care and homeware products. Not legally required for sale as organic.
     
  • Restaurants & catering
    For cafes, restaurants, stalls and mobile catering units preparing and serving food direct to the consumer for immediate consumption, menus and dish items. Not legally required for sale as organic.

Other organic schemes

We are permitted, and have accreditation where required, to certify to the following organic schemes.

  • National Organic Program (NOP)
    For UK producers, manufacturers and processors whose products are destined for sale as organic in the US. Required for sale as organic in the US.
     
  • Canadian Organic Regime (COR)
    For producers, manufacturers and processors whose products are destined for sale as organic in Canada or the US. Required for sale as organic in Canada and the US.
     
  • Global Organic Textiles Standards (GOTS)
    See organic symbol scheme for textiles, above. Not legally required for sale as organic.
     
  • Cosmetics Organic Standards (COSMOS)
    For manufacturers, processors, packers, brandholders, importers and retailers of health & beauty care and homeware products. Not legally required for sale as organic.
     
  • French AB logo
    For labelling of products with the AB logo, indicating compliance with the French CC-REPAB-F standards. Not legally required for sale as organic.
image "We need to respect the land in terms of what we put in to be assured of good stuff coming out for our children and their children."
 
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