Finding the term ‘Organic’ in front of the name of a meat product means that it has been certified by one of the UK’s organic control bodies to have been made while strictly adhering to the tight 'organic' regulations as defined by the European Comission. Explored more deeply below, the Soil Association (the largest British organic controller) describes these organic regulations to broadly protect the following:
You can spot organic meat products by their display of the EU organic icon below.
In total there are 7 organic certification control bodies in the UK. These, and only these bodies, are lawfully able to certify meat products for be ‘organic’. The different names of the UK’s organic control bodies, alongside their contact details can be found in the table below.
|UK Organic Controlling Bodies|
|Organic Farmers & Growers CICfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Organic Food Federationemail@example.com|
|Soil Association Certification Ltdfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Biodynamic Association Certificationemail@example.com|
|Irish Organic Associationfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Organic Trust Limitedemail@example.com|
|Quality Welsh Food Certification Ltdfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|OF&G (Scotland) Ltdemail@example.com|
While each organic control body has marginally varied practices when it comes to organic meat, they all all follow the same core principles.
As a retailer, you are only certified sell ‘organic meat’ products where:
As a producer, one of the UK’s organic control bodies will only certify your meat as organic meat where it abides strictly by the standards set out by the European Commission (). As outlined on their website, “In 2007, the EU Council agreed a new Council Regulation 834/2007 setting out the principles, aims and overarching rules of organic production and defining how organic products should be labelled”
As of 2017, the UK is estimated to consume about 84,000 tonnes worth of meat.
Research conducted by Euromonitor in 2017 indicates that the amount of organic meat we eat in the UK has grown more than any other country since 2012 – a whopping 17%. What’s even more staggering I that UK consumers have been found to have purchased almost 100% more organic meat in 2016 (84,000 tonnes) than they did in 2012 (44,000 tonnes).
Anastasia Alieva who heads up the fresh food team at Euromonitor believes that Europes growing concern with healthy foods is what’s driving this growth in organic meat consumption – a trend that is only going to continue in the years to come. She says:
“The concept of ‘clean label’, natural and organic is spreading and thanks to the increasing healthy eating trend, the demand for organic meat increased during the 2011–2016 review period, despite high unit prices compared to standard meat.”
“This trend is likely to encourage people, especially the health-conscious young generation, to eat more vegetables and reduce consumption of meat products or even replace them with pulses that are thought to be healthier due to low/zero fat,” she said.
Based on research published by the British Journal of Nutrition, the The Soil Association reports that organic foods including meats have a significantly different nutritional profiles than non-organic foods, as follows:
When it comes to the welfare of animals that have been reared to produce organic meat products, the European commission very clearly sets out specific conditions that livestock farmers must adhere to in order to be able to market their meat as organic. These regulations include those regarding “respect for animal welfare, feeding the animals in accordance with their nutritional needs and are designed to protect the animals health and environment.” Example of such regulations include – and are not limited to – the following: