Based on information from the North Rhine-Westphalian State Ministry for the Environment, Regional Development and Agriculture
»Organic farming is a particularly environmentally friendly form of agriculture. When you buy organically grown products you facilitate the expansion of organic farming!«
Bärbel Höhn, former North Rhine-Westphalian Minister for the Environment, Conservation, Agriculture and Consumer Affairs
Organic farming is cultivation of the land in harmony with Nature.
Plants are kept healthy by means of prevention, no chemical herbicides or fertilizers are used.
- utilize the available resources to maintain the fertility of the land
- aim for a circular economy and closed nutrient cycles
- utilize ecosystems' forces of self regulation
- do not use chemical herbicides or mineral nitrogen fertilizers
- do not use performance enhancers such as antibiotics in livestock feed
- do not use genetically altered plants.
- is particularly environmentally friendly
- protects water, soil and climate
- avoids chemical herbicide residues in foods
- especially protects rare plants
- increases the activity of organisms in the soil
- reduces energy consumption and saves raw materials
- is subject to explicit production and processing regulations
- is subject to governmental supervision
- creates and maintains agricultural employment.
- Organic products bear claims such as »organic«, »organically grown« or »organic farming« in conjunction with the official EU organic logo and the EC inspection body and the control number (e.g. DE-ÖKO-001).
- The official German »Bio« label or other national labels may also be used
- The EU Regulation (EC) No. 834/2007 can be named
- Organic products can bear the label of an organic growers' association, such as Bioland, Demeter, Naturland, ANOG, Soil Association etc..
- from farmyard shops
- at weekly markets
- at organic bakeries
- regular delivery from organic growers
- in health food stores and organic foods shops
- foods retailers.
- Organic farming does not use chemical herbicides. Therefore organic produce is generally free of herbicide residues.
- However, due to general environmental pollution, a complete absence of harmful residues cannot be guaranteed.
- Organically grown vegetables and potatoes have much lower nitrate levels.
- Organically grown vegetables, especially leafy vegetables, have a higher solids content.
- Organic produce is usually processed without additives.
- Consumers who purchase organic produce support environmentally friendly agriculture.
Organic growers need higher prices,because
- their yield is lower,
- the risks of cultivation are higher,
- their business is more diverse and
- the labour intensity is higher.
Processors and sellers need higher margins, because
- processing generally takes place in small-scale handcraft businesses,
- marketing structures are still being established and
- health food stores have a lower turnover than large food chains.
If you buy organic products as close to the source and as unprocessed as possible, and buy produce of the season, the price difference compared to other foods is not so great.
- Organic products are subject to inspection from production though processing to the final product
- This is legally regulated in the Council Regulation (EC). No 834/2007 on organic production of agricultural products
- Accredited private control bodies inspect producing and processing businesses with regard to adherence to the aforementioned Regulation
- Inspectors visit all businesses at least once a year and inspect the fields, stables and processing facilities. They also conduct inspections without prior notice and take samples where appropriate. They check the flow of goods according to the records
- The businesses complete control reports, crop databases and livestock records; they must present their business accounting
- The North Rhine-Westphalian State Office for Food Economy and Hunting monitors the work of the accredited private control bodies.
The Council Regulation (EC) No. 834/2007
- regulates the production, labelling and controlling of the organic production of agricultural products,
- protects consumers against deception - the term »organic« may only be used in labelling, if the products are produced and controlled in accordance with the Regulation,
- defines organic crop farming,
- prohibits the use of chemical herbicides and fertilizers. A list of permitted substances defines which plant resistance enhancers and fertilizers may be used,
- regulates the transition from conventional to organic farming and
- permits the declaration of products with the terms such as »Organic Farming« and a control number.
- Requires the display of the EU organic logo and the declaration of the origin of the ingredients (EU, non-EU or both) for all packaged certifiedorganic produts.