BRITAIN'S organic food sector is facing its first major crisis after an investigation uncovered considerable levels of fraud within the industry.
The level of malpractice extends to producers passing off food as organic and the use of incorrect or unregulated certification.
Concerns are now growing that consumers are paying inflated prices for organic produce that is no different to regular foodstuffs.
...The organic food industry has grown dramatically and is now worth £1.12 billion per year, a ten-fold increase over eight years.
....TO QUALIFY as "organic", food must meet strict standards laid down by the European Union and incorporated into British law.
Growers, processors and importers selling organic food must be registered with organic-certification bodies, which in turn are regulated in the UK by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
There are ten such bodies in Britain, including the Soil Association and the Scottish Organic Producers' Association, which regularly visit farms to check fertilisers and pesticides being used are approved for organic use.
Food must be made from at least 95 per cent organic ingredients to carry an organic label.
....Standards also extend to the processing of food, including the milling of flour, baking of bread and the making of pizzas.