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Lobbying Averts Crisis for Organic Poultry

by 5m Editor
1 December 2011, at 12:30pm

UK - 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 rules.

The NFU and the organic sector have lobbied extensively on the changes, which could have had a devastating effect for the industry. The Commission intended to force farmers to grow a large proportion of feed in their own holding or region and wanted to implement a 100 per cent organic diet rule.

Current regulation calls for 95 per cent.

However, it has now revealed that it will not make any immediate changes and that a requirement to use fully organic pullets will also be delayed.

Changes were due to be implemented on 1 January.

The Commission will now publish new rules on its website at an unspecified later date. Animals and their products can legally be described as ‘organic’ until that time.

Martin Humphrey, NFU poultry board member and organic feed compounder, said: "I am delighted that the EU has listened to the NFU and those in the poultry sector who have made representations to the EU Commission and Defra on the important matter of organic diets.

"While we await conformation of the proposed text for the legislation, it looks clear that the EU will not implement 100 per cent organic diets and will allow producers to continue with the current 95% for a limited amount of time.

"With 95 per cent diets, producers are able to ensure that the bird’s nutrition is satisfied and that their welfare is not compromised, whereas with 100 per cent 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 sector to meet with key stakeholder organisations and the Head of Unit for organic farming at the Commission.