Bogus traders

As certifiers of around 70% of the organic food sold in the UK, the Soil Association welcomes any prosecutions of traders who attempt to sell non-organic products as organic or use misleading labelling. As far as we're concerned, the tougher the policing of the organic regulations by trading standards and environmental health officers, the better it will be for consumers, and for genuine organic farmers.

Soil Association Certification conducts rigorous annual inspections of all the farms, food companies and retailers licensed with us - over 4,000 inspections each year, including a number of surprise spot checks whenever any cause for concern or possibility of malpractice is suggested. Taking the food industry overall, the organic sector is the most tightly defined and well regulated area of our daily diet, and deserves the trust consumers place in organic food.

Companies to avoid

Although rare, occasionally companies have falsely represented their products or company as being certified organic by us. The companies listed below fall into this category - we are providing this information to assist you in making informed choices when you shop.

To find information on our many legitimately certified licensees please search our licensee checker or call us on 0117 914 2406 and we'll be pleased to help.

Falsely representing food or drink products as certified organic contravenes EU organic regulations 834/2007 and 889/2008.

The following companies are falsely representing their products or company as Soil Association organic:

What you can do

  • Continue to buy organic products clearly certified by the Soil Association, or one of the other UK organic certification bodies.
  • On stalls and in shops where loose organic produce is being sold, look out for a certificate on display from the organic certification body. The retailer should also have a trading schedule which lists all the products licensed by us.
    Example certificate [PDF, 45 KB]
    Example trading schedule [PDF, 35 KB]
  • If a market stall has no certificate on display, trading schedule available or if you see products in any shop which are not labelled with a certifier's approved symbol or certification code (UK5 for the Soil Association, or GB-ORG-05 from 2012), ask the person selling the food how he or she can be sure that it really is organic. The producer does not have to display the symbol, they only have to show the certification code on their products.
  • If you have any concerns, report them to your local trading standards office or to the Soil Association and be prepared to take your custom elsewhere. Please note that the responsibility for enforcement is ultimately Trading Standards. Although we have the power to impose sanctions upon those organic operators who voluntarily license with us and may infringe the standards, we have no powers regarding traders who avoid the regulatory system altogether.
  • To report concerns to us please telephone us on 0117 914 2444 or email us at proc.cert@soilassociation.org