Dependable step products

The organization joining the Steps to Organic -program defines the step products in such way that the risk of mixing organics to the conventional products is as small as possible and they can reliably communicate to customers about usage of organics.

If step products are used in food preparation and/or baking, it is recommended that a similar conventional product is not used in the kitchen at all. This because otherwise it is hard for the consumer to know for certain that, for example, organic milk is definitely used in each particular meal or not.   

If a step product is served directly from its packaging, also a conventional product may be offered on the side. In such case it is possible that the use of the organic product may fall low enough to no longer fill the criteria for a significant product and lose its standing as a step product.

Knowing the critical issues

In order to ensure reliable functions and communication, it is important for the kitchens to recognize the situations where there is a risk of mixing organic products with conventional products or providing misleading information. These situations mainly occur in the reception, storage and service of organic products.

Critical issues also include any situations where a deviation from the standard procedure is called for. For instance, how to inform the customers in case the step product is currently not used due to availability.

Reception inspection

Upon receiving goods it must be confirmed that they are organically produced. The act on organic products clearly defines what kind of packaging labels organic products must have and what documents shall be delivered along with the products. Sealed, packed products must have the producer name and address, product inside as well as references to organic production and the marking of the supervising official. These may also be included in the freight form enclosed. If the product arrives unpacked directly from the farmer for instance, the farmer must be asked to provide a document with the said content.

Storage

The mixing of organic and conventional products can best be avoided by not storing similar conventional products in the kitchen. If this is not possible, it must be planned how to avoid the mixing of  the types. For instance, is there a possibility to reserve a separate space, shelf, pantry or such only for organic products?

Transparency

Transparency means that the kitchen is able to reliably prove that there have not been more organic products sold or offered than they have procured. For instance the bookkeeping includes the information on organic food procurement. EkoCentria will collect the information on step product usage annually.

Customer communication

The Steps to Organic -diploma given to each kitchen is a proof of the kitchen’s commitment to using organic products. It is supplemented with informative materials provided to kitchens and allowing them to explain what organic products are constantly being used. The informative materials may be updated in the kitchens by adding any other organic products offered (this month, this week, today). The daily menu can include a mention of organic products used. Single organic products offered can be labeled with separate cards. The informative materials are meant to be used only by kitchens in the Steps to Organic -program.

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