Those who pay attention to organic food in the EU often have to fight their way through a jungle of quality seals and labels around organic or organic products, without knowing what exactly is behind them. In order to provide consumers with clarity and consistency in the European food market for organic products, the EU launched its own eco-label in July 2010.
The eco-seal of the EU
The star-shaped leaf on a green background is intended to identify foods that have been produced according to an EC organic regulation. At some point, so the hope, a multiplicity of different eco-seals will disappear and only the EU-seal will apply.
But that is not to be expected for the time being. Because the quality labels of cultivation associations and retail chains are not only successful brands, but often stand for more organic.
Eco and Bio: Protected Terms
The good news for all consumers is: Where "eco" is on it is also "eco" in it. As well as 'organic', 'organic' or 'organic', the term is protected by the EC Organic Farm Regulation and can only be used if the product is made from 95% organic ingredients.
In contrast, food from "controlled cultivation" does not automatically comply with the EC Organic Regulation. The same applies to misleading terms such as "naturally fertilized", "environmentally friendly" or "untreated".
Variety of bio-seals
Because designations alone do not always give an indication as to whether they are actually eco-products, customers should pay attention to printed quality labels. Here one distinguishes between the seals of cultivation associations such as Bioland, Demeter or Biopark as well as the many organic brands of supermarkets.
While associations can be confident that food comes exclusively from members of the association, the origin of ingredients in organic branded products can no longer be unequivocally understood. Nevertheless, it is guaranteed that such products have at least been produced according to the EU organic guidelines.
Bio-seal in Germany
In Germany alone, there are well over 100 organic labels. In 2001, the Minister of Consumer Protection, Renate Künast, introduced what is today the best-known German eco-label: the honeycomb-shaped "Künast" seal from the state. Although it is the most widely used organic seal on the German market, it could not displace other eco-labels and organic brands.
The reason for this is the much stricter requirements of cultivation associations and supermarket chains regarding their ecological production. For example, most associations require that the entire manufacturer's business be organic. On the other hand, to obtain the EU seal, ecological partial management is enough. In animal welfare or feed production too, associations often demand higher standards than any EU requirements.
Strict controls on organic products
For farming associations and traders' chains, their seals have become an economic commodity that has the confidence of consumers. In order not to damage brands and the association, much stricter controls are also carried out. In addition to the legally required inspections, associations additionally check the quality of their products within the association.
This measure also contributes to confidence-building, so that it can be assumed that in the future, in addition to the EU Bio-Siegel, various logos will continue to be found on the products.
Origin of organic products
After all, the origin of food ingredients is at least somewhat more transparent. With the introduction of the new EU logo, labeling is now mandatory, which provides information on whether a product comes completely, partially or not at all from the EU. Only if all the ingredients come from a single country can the country of origin be listed.
However, consumers should keep an eye on that. Because organic yoghurt with imported milk from France as well as flown-in fruits from Spain is not really ecological even with animal welfare and unsprayed fruit. In addition, food during long transport and harvest in the immature state not negligible in quality.