Britain investigates illegal sales of organic meat

16-05-2006 | |

A television documentary in the UK claimed that many British butchers are selling unverified meat as organic.

The investigation, centred on the West of England, filmed a number of butchers who said their meat was organic and in many cases charging premium prices for the product although they were not licensed to sell organic meat, and the meat they were selling had no certification.

The butchers and farmers caught by the undercover operation said they were not labelling the meat as organic, simply advising customers that it came from organic farms and was of superior quality. They complained that complex regulations made it difficult to get a license and to certify products as organic even if they have the license.

Selling organic meat without a government license can result in fines of up to $7,500. An organic license costs about $600 a year. Farmers claim that the license is overpriced and the paperwork confusing.

Organic meat sales in England are estimated at about $100 million, about 8% of overall organic food sales.

As a result of the TV broadcast the Soil Association of Great Britain has vowed to increase its enforcement of organic standards.

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