Where organic is on it is also organic in it - that promises at least the state organic label. What does this and the many other seals mean? Does water differ from organic food? And what are integrated and controlled products? Does the consumer ultimately only have faith in the good in the seal?
Many supermarket chains today sell organic eggs, organic bread, organic dairy and noodles, or promote organic fruit. But many consumers are at a loss. Information and expert advice from the staff is missing. It is estimated today that more than 120 different eco-labels are used. For the consumer, the proverbial wheat chaff can hardly be separated from the products decorated with stickers and seals. Only the belief in the good in the seal and the hope that really "eco" is in it, if "eco", "organic" or "nature" on it.
What does the state organic label mean?
Let's make a leap in time into the year 2000: In Schleswig-Holstein, the first BSE-sick bovine that was born in Germany is officially discovered. BSE-free Germany - just another myth. Highly toxic PCBs in animal feed, swine fever, residues of solvents such as benzene, styrene, toluene and xylene in pork - the list of food scandals in Germany and Europe reads like a page from the chemistry textbook and has been getting longer and longer for years.
The BSE crisis brought the (green) Minister of Agriculture Renate Künast to the Germans, and in early 2001 introduced the state organic seal. Meanwhile, there is also an EU organic logo, which can be used together with the state organic seal. Over 8, 000 products now bear the state organic seal. His message: Here is a product of organic farming, it complies with the provisions of the EC Organic Regulation.
Specifications of the Biosiegel:
- There must be no irradiation of the organic food.
- Genetically modified organisms must not be used
- Neither chemical pesticides nor artificial (mineral) fertilizers may be used.
- The animals must not be treated with antibiotics or performance-enhancing medicines and must be kept in an appropriate manner.
- Only if at least 95 percent of the ingredients come from organic farming, they may get the organic seal.
The organic seal is a national symbol that only applies in Germany. However, foods originating from other EU countries or from third countries are labeled with the EU organic label. There, the same requirements for production and processing must be met, which is also controlled. Within ten years, 20 percent of agricultural products are to be produced according to ecological criteria. The motto: "class instead of mass". Whether the goal is achieved, consumers decide.
Can you trust the organic seal?
So "organic" is now a strictly protected sign, which, for example, no longer every big baker may stick to his wholegrain bread. The strict award criteria and a single label are an important step for consumers. The organic seal guarantees, "EC organic regulation fulfilled" - no more and no less. With the uniform organic labeling an old demand of the consumer associations is finally fulfilled.
More organic seals
"Right" organic food was also available before the state seal. Most consumers have known brand names like Bioland, Naturland or Demeter for many years. Over 90 percent of organic farms are organized in one of the organic farming associations. Some of these cultivation associations are or were united under the roof of the 1988 created "working community ecological agriculture" (AGÖL registered association). Even then, there were strict guidelines as to which product should receive a specific organic label. Associations have their member companies regularly audited by independent inspection bodies and their certified organic products labeled with a corresponding EU control number. Only those who comply with the guidelines may label their products with the corresponding trademarks of the associations and the EU control number.
German Cultivation Associations: In Germany there are ten cultivation associations of the recognized organic farming. The guidelines of these associations go beyond the legal regulations of the EC organic regulation in some points. Here, more is voluntarily done than prescribed by law.
Biokreis eV: founded in 1979 as "Biokreis Ostbayern" by farmers and consumers. The Biokreis eV wants to promote the cooperation of growers, consumers and processors in a manageable region according to ecological principles and to maintain a peasant agriculture based on organic farming. Seat: Passau, now represented nationwide.
Bioland - Organic Organic Farming Association: founded in 1971 in Baden-Württemberg as "Fördergemeinschaft organo-biological agriculture and horticulture". Bioland is the largest organic cultivation association in Germany by area and number of members. Seat of the Federal Association: Mainz.
Biopark eV: founded in 1991 in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The focus of the member companies is on meat production. The association now includes companies in 14 federal states, located in: Karow.
Demeter-Bund eV: The only growing association of biologically dynamic agriculture. The globally active association is structured in many ways. In Germany, Demeter is represented in all federal states.
Ecovin eV: formerly "Federal Association of Organic Viticulture (BÖW) eV" was founded in 1985 as an umbrella organization of all organic winegrowers. Headquarters is Oppenheim. With its regional associations also organization of all winegrowers who are affiliated to any other organic farming association.
Gäa - Association Organic Farming eV: Has its roots in the ecclesiastical environmental movement of the former GDR. The association, named after the Greek goddess of the earth, was founded in 1989 in Goppeln near Dresden. Dedicated to the conversion of farms in the new federal states. Headquarters: Dresden with regional offices in Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia.
Naturland - Association for Natural Agriculture eV: founded in 1982 by practitioners and scientists. The association is one of the largest certification organizations for eco-products worldwide. Naturland sees its tasks in the protection of the environment and in the preservation of natural resources through a natural way of farming in all areas of agriculture. Headquarters: in Gräfelfing near Munich.
Ökosiegel eV: The Association Organic Farming with the trademark "Ökosiegel" was founded in 1988. Its member companies are mainly located in eastern Lower Saxony.
Verbund Ökohöfe eV / Verbund Ökohöfe Nordost eV: The association Ökohöfe Nordost eV was created in 2009 from the Gäa Association of Organic Farming. Since 2006 he cooperates with the association Ökohöfe eV This association is based in Wanzleben-Börde near Magdeburg and is mainly involved in Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia and Saxony.
What to look for when shopping
As long as you can not find the organic label on food, the following recommendations are still valid: Look for the association marks of the organic farming associations and on eco-brands of the food retail trade. If you are unsure, look for the code number of the inspection body, which must be either alone or together with the name of the inspection body (eg DE-099-Öko-Kontrollstelle).