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Abattoir offer in bid to boost organic slaughter

Date Published: 17/05/2007

A new drive has been launched to increase the number of abattoirs registered to slaughter organic livestock.

Leading certification body, Organic Farmers & Growers (OF&G), is responding to concerns among its farmer licensees about a lack of capacity for organic slaughter in many areas.

As one of the largest organic certifiers in the UK, OF&G is slashing the cost of inspection and licensing for small abattoirs moving into organic for the first time.

It has also pledged to work with new entrants to organic slaughter to link them up with farmers in their areas in a bid ensure uptake of the service. Where there is enough demand from producers the certifier has said it will even consider waiving licensing costs for up to two years.

The company is to carry out a direct mail campaign to highlight the shortage of capacity and encourage abattoir owners to look closely at the possibilities organic offers to their business.

OF&G Chief Executive, Richard Jacobs, explained: “Finding abattoirs licensed for organic slaughter is proving very difficult for some of our farmers in certain areas and is resulting in organic animals having to be sold as non-organic.

“This is an awful shame in a time when the market for organic meat is booming and farmers should be able to capitalise on the premium prices available for their hard work. We would like to do everything we can to ease that situation by making entry into the organic market as painless as possible for abattoirs – and that means keeping their costs down.”

Mr Jacobs said he and his colleagues understood that many abattoir owners were put off going down the organic route because of fears about cost and complexity.

But he added: “A well-run abattoir meeting UK and European food safety and hygiene regulations can put in place the requirements of organic certification in a few straightforward steps. The costs of being certified for organic operations are probably much lower than they would expect and we can reduce that further by offering substantial discounts on our certification charges to new entrants.”

OF&G has produced a Technical Leaflet outlining the requirements for organic certification of abattoirs and has offered to discuss the regulations in more depth with anyone who is interested in finding out more.