Is organic the same as organic? A comparison of the most common organic labels

Sustainable, environmentally friendly, species-appropriate: In Germany, numerous organic labels are permitted that promise compliance with certain criteria for environmentally friendly food production. But with so many seals it is difficult to keep track of them all. We briefly explain what the most frequently used seals stand for and take stock.

 

#1 The EU organic label

With this seal, since 01 July 2010 minimum standards for the organic cultivation of food within the EU. The EU organic label can be used to identify organically certified meat products, cheese, milk, vegetables, eggs, lettuce, fruit, cereal products or spices, among other things.

Companies that label their products with these seals are regularly audited for compliance with the manufacturing criteria to ensure that 

production, as well as imports and exports within the EU comply with the regulations. The EU organic label is the best known as it is the most widely used (several 100,000 certified products). Its main criteria are:

  • Ban on genetic engineering
  • Renunciation of chemical-synthetic pesticides and fertilisers
  • Maximum number of animals per hectare and species-appropriate husbandry of animals on the farmland, as well as organic feed and prohibition of preventive antibiotic administration
  • Processing: only 53 additives permitted (conventional products in the EU: 316).
  • A compound foodstuff may only be called "organic" or "eco" if the ingredients at least 95 percent of the ingredients meet the meet the criteria.

However, the label is sometimes criticised because it only covers certain aspects of organic farming or animal husbandry (farmers can, for example, manage their farm half conventionally and half organically). According to critics, this does not fully correspond to the idea of environmental protection. 

 

 #2 German state organic seal

 

In addition to the EU organic label German companies are allowed to use the trademarked hexagonal organic label, which was established in 2001. The prerequisite for this is that companies are already certified according to the EU regulations for organic farming. But what exactly does the seal mean for the end consumer? The positive aspect is that no use of chemical plant protection products (such as pesticides and chemicals) is permitted, animal husbandry appropriate to the species is mandatory and no genetic engineering may be used in the cultivation of plants. Despite these guidelines, it is nevertheless critical to mention that around 47 additives, such as the thickening agent carrageenan (E407) and nitrite curing salt, are permitted in the processing of certified food. However, these additives are not used in the processing and production of our Blue Farm Organic Oat Base and we guarantee you a completely pure product made from 100% organic wholemeal oat flour.

 

#3 The Bioland seal

Founded in 1971 as "bio gemüse e.V.", Bioland is today one of the most recognised organic certifications. Now the largest organic growers' association in Germany and South Tyrol, Bioland is committed to the promotion and dissemination of organic farming. organic farming. Strictly speaking, the Bioland seal is not a seal, but a brand label. Bioland-certified products adhere to strict rules and principles, namely seven in number:

  • Managing in the cycle
  • Promote soil fertility
  • Keeping animals species-appropriate
  • Promote biodiversity
  • Preserving the natural foundations of life
  • Securing a future worth living for people

 Products that are entitled to bear the Bioland seal range from fruit, salad and vegetables, to dairy products, cheese, meat products and eggs, to cereal products, spices, beer, wine, beverages and honey.

In contrast to other organic labels, Bioland only allows 22 additives. The amount of fertiliser is also strictly regulated. In addition, Bioland farms are required to convert completely to "organic" and the focus is on regionality. Thus, for example, no imported feed is used, but only feed from regional cultivation.

In order to comply with the Bioland guidelines, farms operating under the Bioland seal are subjected to strict annual inspections. 

 

#4 The Naturland seal

 

As the largest organic association worldwide, Naturland is one of the most important organic certifications. With even stricter regulations and requirements for compliance with organic quality, the Naturland seal can be applied not only to foodstuffs, but also to natural cosmetics and organic textiles. natural cosmetics and organic textiles. organic textiles.

The aim of the seal is to set high ecological standards in the cultivation and processing of food. It also takes social aspectssuch as the exclusion of child labour or respect for human rights in the production of certified food.

Producers or processors who meet the requirements are allowed to use the Naturland seal. The production and processing of products labelled with this seal have been strictly controlled. The Naturland seal can be found on meat and dairy products, as well as cereal products, vegetables, fruit and spices.

The criteria require compliance with the EU organic regulation for the EU organic label. but go beyond this with their own requirements.

In addition to stricter regulations for organic production processes, Naturland also focuses on production conditions, social aspects and human rights. These additional certifications can be marked with the word "Fair" on the logo. Like Bioland, Naturland also only allows 22 additives in products. Animal transports are limited to a maximum of eight hours and at least 50% of the feed must come from the farm itself. 

 

#5 The Demeter seal

Demeter is considered the oldest organic association in Germany and has existed since 1924. Biodynamic agriculture is at the heart of the Demeter philosophy and is intended to protect the climate, soils and resources. Demeter products often do well in tests and are repeatedly among the test winners. 

The requirements for Demeter farmers are much stricter than the EU organic regulation. Most pesticides and chemical fertilisers are banned, and the amount of fertiliser is limited.

Antibiotics are only given to the animals in case of emergency, otherwise only natural cures and biodynamic preparations from herbs, minerals and cow dung are allowed. Avoiding animal suffering is also an important aspect. For example, the dehorning of cows is prohibited. For species-appropriate animal husbandry, exercise and sufficient space in the barn are specified.

The preservation of biodiversity is a central aspect of certification, because monocultures must be avoided. Genetic engineering is also prohibited.

Only a few, necessary additives and processing aids are allowed in processing. Iodisation, nitrite curing salt and natural flavourings are also prohibited and only flavour extracts are permitted.

 

Our conclusion

Going organic, as opposed to conventional, is always a better choice for the environment, biodiversity and quality food. 

With the various labels, there are also always qualitative gradations with regard to production. The EU organic label forms the basis for uniform quality standards throughout Europe in the production of organic products. However, it does not allow any statements on whether all production processes of a product have always been carried out ecologically and sustainably. Other labels also include working conditions or animal welfare in their certification. It is therefore always advisable to take a close look at what conditions the labels stand for.

Also, no single organic label allows sufficient statements about the environmental compatibility of a product, because they mainly refer to the production of the raw materials. The ecological assessment of food in general and thus also of (organic) goods must therefore always be considered individually and depending on the product. For example, the CO2 footprint, water consumption or the air pollution caused by the product are not included in the assessment. Points such as packaging or transport (organic papaya from South America) are also not taken into account in the evaluation of organic labels.

Buying an organic product therefore does not always automatically mean getting a completely safe product. Organic certified asparagus, for example, may be grown in an organically fertilised and biodiverse soil, but grows under plastic sheeting and is often harvested under precarious working conditions (for example, inadequate labour protection and poor pay).

With your conscious consumption, you always decide how environmentally friendly or fair your product is. By choosing organic products, you automatically support more biodiversity, diversity of varieties, species-appropriate husbandry or even fair working conditions during production.

POWER TO THE PLANT: With our Organic Oat Base you can produce up to 8 litres of homemade, gluten-free oat drink - now in organic quality and available here!

 

Sources:

https://www.alnatura.de/de-de/ueber-uns/bio-siegel-und-verbaende/

https://www.bund.net/massentierhaltung/haltungskennzeichnung/bio-siegel/

https://utopia.de/ratgeber/bio-siegel-haben-die-tiere-davon/

https://utopia.de/siegel/bioland/

https://www.oekolandbau.de/bio-siegel/

https://www.bioland.de/verbraucher

https://eatsmarter.de/ernaehrung/news/bio-siegel

https://www.siegelklarheit.de/110-naturland-lebensmittel

https://www.oekotest.de/essen-trinken/Demeter--was-steckt-hinter-dem-Bio-Siegel_11538_1.html

 

Leave a comment

Please note that comments must be approved before publication