Organic poultry farmers are being urged to carry on as normal after the European Commission announced it would not introduce immediate changes to monogastric feed and part-organic pullet regulations.
The organic sector have been lobbying extensively over possible changes which would have had a devastating effect for the industry. The Commission had intended to force the organic poultry industry to grow a large proportion of feed from their own holding or region and wanted to implement a 100% organic diet for poultry.
However, the Commission has now revealed it will not make any immediate changes and that a requirement to use fully organic pullets would also be delayed. Changes were due to be implemented on January 1 but the Commission will now publish rules on its website at a later date, ensuring that animals and their products can remain legally described as organic until that time.
Martin Humphrey, NFU poultry board member, British Free Range Egg Producers Association council member and organic feed compounder, said: “I am delighted that the EU has listened to the poultry sector who have made representations to the EU Commission and DEFRA on the important matter of organic diets. While we await conformation from the proposed text for the legislation, it looks clear that the EU will not implement 100% organic diets and will allow producers to continue with the current 95 per cent diets for a limited amount of time.
“With 95% diets, producers are able to ensure that the bird’s nutrition is satisfied and that their welfare is not compromised, whereas with 100% diets bird welfare is challenged. We now need to turn our attention towards guiding the EU towards implementing a sustainable course for organic poultry which pragmatically addresses bird-feeding requirements.”
The NFU had previously organised for a group of representatives from across the organic poultry sector to meet with key stakeholder organisations and the Head of Unit for organic farming at the Commission to discuss the proposals.