This snapshot, taken on
, shows web content acquired for preservation by The National Archives. External links, forms and search may not work in archived websites and contact details are likely to be out of date.
The UK Government Web Archive does not use cookies but some may be left in your browser from archived websites.
Text only


All food sold as 'organic' must be produced according to European laws on organic production.

These laws require food sold as 'organic' to come from growers, processors and importers who are registered and approved by organic certification bodies, which are in turn registered by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) or a similar control body elsewhere in the European Union.

Organic certification bodies must appoint inspectors who are, for example, expected to visit farms and check that no fertilisers or pesticides have been used that are not approved for organic production, and that land has been farmed organically for the conversion period (normally two years) before food is sold as 'organic'.

Labels on food sold as 'organic' must indicate the organic certification body that the processor or packer is registered with. The labels must, at the minimum, include a code number that denotes the approved inspection body. The name or trademark (logo) of the certification body may also, but does not have to be shown on the label.

It is not always possible to make products entirely from organic ingredients, since not all ingredients are available in organic form. Manufacturers of organic food are permitted to use specific non-organic ingredients provided that organic ingredients make up at least 95% of the food.

If the product contains between 70% and 95% organic ingredients, organic ingredients can be mentioned only in the ingredients list, and a clear statement must be given on the front of the label showing the total percentage of the ingredients that are organic.

DEFRA is responsible for Regulations governing the production of organic foods, and the administration of organic schemes in the UK.