The Coalition Government has today confirmed that it will close the Advisory Committee on Organic Standards (ACOS). From an ORC perspective, this is a serious blow as there is now no forum for communication with Defra on the implementation of organic standards in the UK, particularly one that includes both industry and NGO representatives. The risk is now that Defra will rely on informal communication with industry and certification groups with particular interests to represent, potentially leading to further under-mining of the core organic/agro-ecological principles that we and others in the organic movement have been striving to develop and promote. The Government has taken a very short-term cost-saving view without considering the much greater longterm damage that will result, and has failed to engage with organic sector representatives to discuss ways forward. It is to be hoped that once the spending review is out of the way, there can be a fresh look at these issues.
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