Standards Board

The Soil Association's elected Council appoints Standards Board members, with the aim of ensuring a representative spread of appropriate expertise on the Board. It meets three times per year. The Standards Board is responsible to the Soil Association elected Council for upholding organic principles in the Soil Association standards. It does this by overseeing their development and maintenance. It works in conjunction with the standards committees who provide the expert, technical input. The Standards Team provides the administration and management for the process. The Standards Board also guides the strategic direction of the Standards Team and agrees the annual work programme. You can read the Soil Association Standards Board and standards committees Terms of Reference here.

Standards Board members as at January 2014:

  • Sam Clarke: independent Chair of the Standards Board
  • Mike Brook: Chair, Health Products Standards Committee
  • Hayden Evans: Farmer and Grower Board Chair and licensee
  • Benjamin Dent: Processing Standards Committee Chair
  • Simon Wright: Ethical Trade Standards Committee Chair
  • John Newman: Agriculture Standards Committee Chair
  • Jill Vaughan: Horticulture Standards Committee Chair
  • Rebecca Speight: Catering Mark Standards Committee Chair
  • Jimmie Hepburn: Aquaculture Standards Committee Chair
  • Rhiannon Rowley: Textile Standards Committee Chair
  • Ian Bretman: lay member
  • Isobel Collyer: lay member
  • Anna-Louise Batchelor: lay member
  • Annabel Allott: Soil Association Council representative
  • Rob Haward: grower representative and licensee

The Standards Board last met on 20 and 21 November 2013: Item discussed and conclusion:

  • Recommendations from the Processing Standards Committee:
  • Ethylene - recommend allowing the use of ethylene for sprout inhibition in stored potatoes and onions, bringing our standards in line with the Regulation. 
    • Ethylene uses less energy than the alternative of using heat/cooling to control sprouting
    • Allowing the use of ethylene increases the market for British grown produce by prolonging the period for which UK grown crops can be stored
    • Reduced health concerns associated with greening which accompanies sprouting, (which produces chemicals associated with spina bifida in pregnant women). - approved, forward to Council 
  • Anatto, bixin and norbixin (colourants in cheese) – recommend permitting bixin and norbixin as per EU Regulation 889/2008- approved, forward to Council
  • Organic rosemary extract – recommend permitting organic rosemary extract as per EU Regulation 889/2008- approved, forward to Council
  • Labelling of vitamins C and E – increase clarity of labelling for the consumer – allow labelling of ascorbic acid and tocopherol as these vitamins but also include either E number or additive name. - approved, forward to Council
  • Bakery tin release agents – delete requirement to use organic release agents, but continue to require the use of organic dusting flours (if flour is used). Invite manufacturers of organic release agents to contact us. - approved, forward to Council
  • Sulphur dioxide (SO₂) levels in wine of 2-4.9 mg/l residual sugar – recommend levels of 100mg/l total; 30mg/l free SO₂ for red and 140mg/l total and 30mg/l free SO₂ for white and rosé. - approved, forward to Council
  • Organic additives – propose requiring use of locust bean gum, Arabic gum and guar gum as organic. New exceptional permission to publish for soya lecithin. Remove requirements for other additives to be organic due to lack of availability. - approved, forward to Council

The Standards Board is next meeting on 5th March 2014. If you would like any more information about the work of the Standards Board, please contact Isabel Griffiths, Standards Manager