Health plan moves

28 April 2000

Health plan moves

ORGANIC producers may soon have to adopt more formal health plans to comply with new European standards.

In reaction to tensions between vets and the organic sector, new European standards will mean those converting to, or selling organic produce must have formal animal health plans.

Both the Soil Association and Organic Farmers and Growers have agreed to adopt these new standards, with OFG asking members and converting members to start health plans in the last four months.

According to OFG assistant certification officer, Rosie Boden, plans will educate vets as well as its organic members about some of the standards, such as when wormers can or cannot be used.

In future, she hopes members will consider vets as advisers rather than curers. Ensuring members work with vets has been a problem in the past, she admits.

Soil Association senior development officer, Phil Stocker says that it too will be adopting health plans, although their format has yet to be established. "This will be a tool to help members adopt organic standards and monitor their improvement." He says this could be particularly important in some areas, such as worm control.

"You could carry bumbling on with a gut worm control policy and have no idea how it is working. But by monitoring animal disease members will be able to know whether the problem is getting worse or improving."

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