Collection of non-cultivated material of plant origin should positively contribute to the maintenance of natural areas and therefore it is recommended that in areas where harvesting or gathering of the wild products is carried, attention should be paid to maintenance and sustainability of the ecosystem.
The collected food product should not be harmful to human health and it should be prepared, packed, stored or transported and sold under proper sanitary/hygienic conditions.
Harvesting or gathering of the product should not exceed the sustainable yield of the ecosystem, or threaten the existence of plant and animal species. Products shall only be certified organic if derived from clearly defined collection areas, which are not exposed to prohibited substances, and which is subject to inspection. The collection area shall be at an appropriate distance from conventional farming, pollution and contamination.
The products must be sufficiently free from contamination from possible sources. The collected plants must grow and regenerate naturally without any agricultural measures. It must be noted that only the collected plant part from the approved collection area, is certified by SSOCA.
All collecting areas must be known to SSOCA. Purchase location and processing and trading locations will be inspected every year. Collector’s houses will also be spot-checked. The sustainability of the collection has to be established through a third-party declaration and SSOCA may do additional analysis of the sustainability with the help of experts. SSOCA reserves the right to perform unannounced spot checks or announced additional inspections of the whole activity of the operator or parts of it at any time during the year. Applicants need to submit an official permission from the forest department.
They need to grant SSOCA’s Auditor access to the collection site and the record keeping related to the product flow. SSOCA guarantees full confidentiality in handling the gathered information.