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The EU Commission has failed to reach agreement over the ending of derogations that a) permit up to 5% of non organic ingredients to be used in organic poultry feed, and b) allow the use of part-organic pullets where organically reared birds cannot be sourced. Both derogations were due to end on 31 December 2011. In the absence of a clear decision DEFRA has provided the following information:
“Since it is not possible publish the new text prior to the 31 December deadline, the intention will be for the amending regulation to have retrospective effect. This will ensure that the animals and their products remain legally described as organic during the period of time from 01 January to the date the regulation becomes applicable.
The Commission has made it clear that they do not intend introducing requirements that would impose immediate changes to the feed rules, and that the pullets issue will be delayed for discussion in order to allow proper consideration. So it will be possible to continue operations as the Commission would not expect to see action taken against operators that are acting in good faith.
Further to the above the Commission have stated that they will place information on their website showing that a retroactive rule is proposed and that as soon as a draft of the proposed text is available it will be communicated. This text is likely to include proposals requiring a low percentage of monogastric feed to be sourced from the region, to allow the current level of 5% of non-organic inputs (with this limited to proteins) with the percentage based on the overall feed figure until 31 December 2014, then with a view to move to <1% on an ongoing basis to allow for minor inclusions. The ability to use non-organic pullets is likely to continue for up to two more years.
Tony Little from Organic Centre Wales said “If these proposals are confirmed, it's basically business as usual in the medium term. I have to say I'm disappointed, mainly on behalf of those Welsh businesses that made changes to their systems in good faith, some of which involved considerable investment, only to have the goalposts moved at the eleventh hour.”
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