Organic Foods

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What do we actually know about organic foods? The mantra says: Economic activity in harmony with nature with bio farmers trying to foster natural processes of life and closed nutrient cycles. According to european history early settlements close to the swiss Monte Verità (= Mointain of the truth) can be partly considered as predecessors for the bio movement. Beginning of the 20th century, they already merged ideas about nutrition and consciousness. Unprocessed foods, no supplements and vegetarianism were manifested that also became essential during the Hippie years of the late 60’ and early 70’. Increased popularity influenced markets and the industry around it, not much later agriculture adapted to the demand of alternative food movements. Anyways, biological cultivation has always been of interest, long before we founded a EU-Organic Certification in 2000. Different countries have different regulations, these are supposed to be overseen by the respective governments. Generally synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers are not allowed. Genetically modified seeds are abandoned, and farmers are asked to maintain strict physical separation of organic products from non-certified products. However, certified organic foods are not necessarily pesticide-free as certain pesticides are allowed. Mass production and global distribution makes it necessary to prolong expiry dates. I.e. we couldn’t serve our nations with potatoes if not using certain pesticides to prevent them from mouldering. „Bio“ became a huge trend that can be seen at many farmers’ markets, farm shops, restaurant and cafes that trade on a sustainable, ethical ethos. It definitely changed modern industrial farming, accepting that you can’t just spray and inject your way to sustainable food production. Yet various claims have been raised if organic standards are really better, i.e. for raising livestocks organically. Organic standards do not allow you to treat a sick animal with anything that is scientifically proven to be effective. You are not allowed to use a series of conventional therapies such as antibiotics, hormones, steroids, feed additives etc. So keeping the certificate, leaving the sick animal hoping to get better or skipping regulations and focus on the health and production? Requirements are high for producers and again regulated differently on country or EU level, which often can lead to ambiguous conditions. Whether organic foods or „Fairtrade“ another ethical certification with price premium, it is a constant expansion and exchange of knowledge that creates more awareness and care for our planet.

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