A dairy farmer who sold organic milk under false pretences has been dropped from the Organic Milk Suppliers Cooperative (OMSCo).
Eric Down, of Fordlands Farm, Tiverton, was found to be selling non-organic milk bottled under an organic label, following an anonymous tip-off from a farmer at his local mart.
OMSCo chairman Nicholas Saphir said: “Our members are required to follow a strict set of parameters as set out by the certifying body, as well as being subject to rigorous auditing procedures which define a minimum standard for the production of organic milk.
“We can confirm that Mr Down is no longer an OMSCo member and we are no longer collecting his milk.
“We are not able to comment further at this time.”
Organic certification body the Soil Association said instances such as this one were ‘extremely rare’ due to tight regulations and rigorous certification making fraud in organic food ‘unlikely’.
Janet Bilkmans, of Soil Association Certification, said: “Organic businesses know that, for the organic customer, trust is everything: it is an industry built on trust and integrity.
“On the very rare occasions when fraud occurs, this tends to be where smaller businesses are not aware of certification requirements and standards around organic.”
A Devon County Council Trading Standards spokesman confirmed it was aware of the incident.