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By Katie Thear
Fruit, vegetables, eggs and meat can all be sold as organic, if they meet the standards. There is an increasing consumer demand for fresh produce without chemical residues.
There is now a common organic standard throughout the European Union. It is necessary to be registered with one of the certification bodies, such as the Soil Association or Organic Farmers and Growers so that the site can be inspected.
The standards cover growing methods, housing and management. No genetically modified materials or in-feed medications are allowed in livestock feeds. There is also a conversion period while land is changing over to organic status.
Animals must be slaughtered at a licensed abattoir by a licensed slaughterer. Meat is inspected, butchered and packed according to the Fresh Meat Hygiene and Inspection Regulations.
If only an occasional surplus is sold, it may not be possible to justify the cost of organic registration, even though the produce is organic in all but name.
Here, concentrating on local sales is the best option, at the farm gate or at a local farmer’s market. It is worth taking the time to show people around the smallholding and explaining your animal friendly production as well as explaining why (cost) you are not registered as organic.