The organic certification seals allow us to trust the origin of the food we buy. Discover the most important ones and what guarantees they offer.
The quality of food and aspects such as its origin and manufacturing process are increasingly valued. Foods are sought without pesticides or chemical additives, obtained by traditional methods that preserve nature and enhance health.
But industrialization and the abundant food supply sometimes prevent knowing that information about a food. In order to fill the trust gap that this generates between producer and consumer, certification processes have been created that inform about the origin and quality of food while giving it added value.
Consuming “organic” is a personal choice. Not only do you get healthier food, but you contribute to protecting the environment, animal welfare and rural development.
WHAT GUARANTEES DOES AN ECOLOGICAL SEAL GIVE?
Transparency towards the consumer, quality and compliance with established standards for organic production (in Europe, in the European Regulation 834/2007). It also ensures the restricted use of chemical pesticides, the absence of genetically modified organisms and a responsible use of natural resources.
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DOES ORGANIC CERTIFICATION MAKE THE PRODUCT MORE EXPENSIVE?
Organic certification is not free. The cost varies depending on whether it is requested by a vegetable, livestock or agri-food industry producer. This additional economic effort, added to the requirements that must be met and the controls that are followed, increase the cost of the product.
WHO CAN CERTIFY THAT A PRODUCT IS ECOLOGICAL?
Today there are numerous stamps that certify that a product is ecological; Seventeen live in Spain alone.
The control and certification of organic production in our country is carried out mainly by public agencies dependent on the autonomous departments of Agriculture. At the same time, there are some private certifying entities.
In the rest of Europe the certifiers are usually private. Among other labels, the following stand out: Ecocert and AB (France), Okö and Bio (Germany), Naturland, Eko (Holland), Soil Association (UK) and Biogarantie (Belgium).
In order to unify labeling in Europe, the “Euro sheet” has been created, an official logo that does not entail an additional cost for the producer. It is a spike of stars on a green background that, since July 2010, must begin to carry food produced and packaged as organic in the European Union.
WHAT CONTROLS DOES A PRODUCT WITH AN ECOLOGICAL SEAL PASS?
To avoid fraud, periodic audits are carried out. When an infringement is detected, the control body withdraws the certification of the product and evaluates the possibility of sanctioning the producer.
Artisan producers sometimes use ingredients or techniques not allowed by organic regulations; and others, despite meeting the requirements, sometimes do not request certification because they do not want or cannot bear its cost, or do not want external control.
WHAT DOES THE “ECOCERT” SEAL INDICATE?
Ecocert is a private body, sets its own criteria and certifies organic production in more than 80 countries around the world. It is accredited by the EU and the US and Japanese Departments of Agriculture. It requires the absence of genetically modified seeds and the control of the risk of cross contamination.
IS GENETIC MANIPULATION AVOIDED IN ORGANIC PRODUCTS?
Yes. The seal implies that the product does not contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and, in the case of cereals and plants, that it does not come from transgenic seeds. It is controlled from the product to the plant: GMOs are not used to fertilize or combat pests, respecting the environment and the fertility of the seeds.
ARE FRESH VEGETABLES USUALLY CERTIFIED?
These foods are distributed accompanied by a certificate of conformity, a document issued by the public or private body with which the producer works and which certifies that they have been produced according to European regulations. The logo of the certifying entity is not usually found on the fruit but on the box.
WHAT IS THE “DEMETER” SEAL ABOUT?
“Demeter” indicates that the rules of biodynamic agriculture have been followed, which introduces additional requirements to organic production and is based on the principles of anthroposophy enunciated by Rudolf Steiner. In the crops the influence of the moon and the zodiacal constellations is also considered.
DOES ORGANIC MEAN FAIR TRADE?
Organic certificates do not imply fair trade, although organic food is obtained with greater awareness and social responsibility. Fair trade is certified with the “Fair Trade” seal or other similar ones such as the “Hand in Hand”, which meets the criteria of the International Federation of Organic Movements.
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