On farm processing

Processing food broadens the customer base, as it provides products for those consumers who choose not to cook from raw ingredients. Processors require a consistent supply so are interested in fostering long term relationships with suppliers. For the producer, adding basic processing enterprises can offer the chance to add value to produce – although market research and planning is essential.

It is worth noting that products that require minimal processing often have the smallest amount of added value and require the highest quality of raw material (for example prepared salads). Higher levels of added value can be attained by products that require a higher level of processing and don't always require the highest quality of produce (for example soups).

Organic processing: what the law says

The EU regulation states that the following operations must be legally certified: 

  • The growing or production of primary agricultural products to be marketed as organic 
  • Packing or labelling of unprocessed agricultural products which are to be marketed as organic
  • Processing, packing or labelling of organic products intended for human consumption and composed essentially of one or more ingredients of agricultural origin
  • Importation of organic products from outside the EU which are intended for human consumption (whether they be unprocessed agricultural products or products composed of one or more ingredient of agricultural origin).

Examples of activities this covers:

  • Traders, retailers, wholesalers, distributors and packers (and animal feed mills, seed production) who break down, pack, repack, relabel or otherwise process bulk materials of organic origin out of sight of the final customer
  • Grain traders, merchants and wholesalers of bulk organic products which are removed from their containers and stored on the premises of the title holder/bulk storage facilities for organic products 
  • Producers who carry out small-scale on-farm packing, or processing of organic products on their farm 
  • Multi-collection milk hauliers 
  • Brand holders who supply ingredients to their contractors to process on their behalf 
  • Packers and prepackers of organic fruit, vegetables and other foods.

If you are not sure how your operation should be classified contact Soil Association Certification Limited processor information team on 0117 914 2407.