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Organic Meat Scam

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"Shoppers duped in organic meat scam" say the front page of todays Times (15 May 2006). This refers to the ITV West "Eye View" programme which will be broadcast tomorrow (Tuesday 16 May 2006)in the West Region of ITV at 7.30 pm.

This story is about shops and especially market stalls selling meat which has been deliberately mislabeled as organic. In this unregulated market there are apparently high levels of fraudulent products. Most trading standards offices have been inactive and the organic bodies content to cast a blind eye whilst devoting their energies to persuading us to buy more organic food. There was a story about this in August 2005 Are You sure Its Organic but little action since then.

The ITV programme highlights the boom in Organic food with sales increasing by 12% per year and £200 million spent on organic meat. It also highlight how difficult it is to distinguish organic and non organic food (apart from the price!).

The Soil Association has finally woken up to this risk and the damage it could do to the organic movement. It has posted a reply to the program. This highlights how little it has done so far - it weakly promises to inspect known fraudsters (big deal), write to organic producers and trade associations and consider appointing an additional roving inspector to carry out spot checks.

It seems that the sellers identified in the programme were not Soil Association licensed but as the largest organic body they should have taken a lead on this.

The motto of the story? Check before buying organic meat and only buy unpackaged food from a reputable supplies. Look out for a licence from the Soil Association or one of the other reputable bodies. There is good information on the Soil Association Consumer Guide.

We have a list of organic sausage makers.

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