The organic products of our Competitor from Thailand which one can find in shops in Germany and England and probably more European countries, are certified by the brittish organisation called ‘ The Soil Association’. A big and well known name in the organic world. Before going to Thailand to check out the organic sweet corn situation, I phoned to the certification department and asked them two things:
1. How often do you control our Competitor in Thailand ?
2. What are the adresses of their production farms ?
Their answer to nr. 1:
The Soil Association just went there once in one or 2 years to have a look at the books. BUT: they , the Soil association, did not do the actual controlling. That was done by a Thai controller.
Answer to 2:
The Soil Association did not feel that it would be nice to our Competitor if they would give me the adresses of the organic farms where my Competitor’s corn was growing. Later on I realised that possibly the Soil Association had never visited any of these fields and maybe did not even have the adresses. It appeared they had a soft spot for Mr.X , the owner of the Thai plant. “He is really a nice man” so they told me. He is in charge of all organic affairs at the plant.
There is a lot of confusion here.
In the 2004 IFOAM handbook we see that ACT is an IFOAM accredited certifier. Then, why do they in 2005 need Soil Association as an extra certifier? Who is now responsable for the control of ACT ? Is it IFOAM or S.A. ? Where should I go with my complaint? ( If I thought that it would be of any help I would of course file a complaint to the responsible organisation. But I don’t think it has any use.)
If one goes to the IFOAM website and clicks to the members and goes to T of Thailand, one can get a website of ACT. On the english version one can see a list of producers that are controlled and certified by ACT. On this list we do not find our Competitor. I have telephoned and emailed a few times to ACT. They promised to send me the complete list of all the producers which they controlled and certified. The ‘boss’ of ACT mrs N. is soft spoken, relaxed and very friendly, but after repeated asking until now I did not receive a list. She told me that our Competitor was going to be certified by ACT starting january 2006. That would explain why our Competitor’s name is not on the list on their website.