Sir, Chris Elliot’s concern over organic food fraud is thoughtful and gratefully received, but somewhat misplaced. Food fraud is something we at the Soil Association also find worrying, which is why we work to strengthen the integrity of what is already one of the most highly regulated areas of the food sector.
The assertion that fraudsters will target opportunity in lucrative markets is one we would tend to agree with - but no system has more in place to combat fraud than organic.
Just last week the EU Commission held a workshop in Brussels to look at this issue, and earlier this year Biofach in Germany showcased plenty of other initiatives dedicated to improving the rigour of organic supply chains and certification systems. Indeed, the Soil Association held a ‘Building Trust’ event last June to explore the roles of technology, testing and certification in building reliable supply chains and safeguarding confidence.
Feedback from that event, along with a number of other projects we are exploring, were the basis of our Supply Chain Challenges and Opportunities Report. It brings to light some of the specific challenges in supply chain resilience, and provides considerations on how organic businesses can build supply chain integrity.
Organic businesses know that, for the customer, trust is everything. Ultimately no industry is 100% impenetrable; but organic has fewer chinks in its armour than most.
Lee Holdstock, trade relations manager, Soil Association Certification