What does “Organic” mean? Let’s find out

The huge development of organic food started alongside environmental movements approximately 10-15 years ago and it encompasses any food originated from organic agriculture and organic farms.

Organic agriculture is different from conventional or industrial agriculture since it forbids any kind of chemical substance and OGM for the whole production process, from raw materials up to the final product, which means that no pesticides, chemical fertilizers, herbicides or insecticides are used. Organic production systems are environmentally friendly and safer for human health since its goal is to enhance the soil’s characteristics and to preserve life and biodiversity. Furthermore, organic agriculture, follows plant seasonality and spontaneous ripening so to not stress the ecosystems in which the plants are cultivated.

These techniques include crop rotation, which allows for more variety on cultivation in order to preserve soil’s fertility, and intercropping, that is the cultivation of plants that protect each other from insects.

A product can be labelled as organic only if at least 95% of its ingredients come from organic agricultures, moreover, products must be labelled with the EU organic logo: a white leaf on green background containing the name of an authorized control body.

Eu logo which certifies a product as Organic
Eu logo for certified Organic products

Can farms be labelled “Organic” as well?

“Organic” is not a term which refers solely to agriculture, on the contrary, farms and pastures can be certified and labelled as well. Speaking about farms, organic farming methods forbid the use of antibiotics, hormones or chemical and OGM animal feeds, in addition, animals are raised in regulated free ranges.

Depending on the animal type and the number of specimens the norms change, for instance, considering dairy cows, only two specimens are allowed to graze on a hectare of land, since it guarantees the preservation of the soil. In the mentioned farms animals are treated better than in traditional ones and they are fed with biological animal feed.

Who can label a product as “Organic”?

In Italy, the supervision over organic products is carried out by specific and authorized EEC bodies. A statement which says that a company’s product follows the organic guidelines is not enough to officially label it as such. On the contrary, a specific inquiry must be conducted, which, if successful, leads to an official certification.

The certification itself contains:

  • IT: ISO code of the country in which the product is made.
  • BIO: Depending on the country it can also result as ORG or EKO.
  • 111: Code which identifies the EEC body which released the certification.

Organic food is considered safer for humans as well as for the environment. Many studies have pointed out that the use of chemical substances in agriculture leads to higher risks for human health, encouraging the development of illnesses. Furthermore, their usage increases environmental risks since they pollute the soil, aquifers and the air.

Organic agriculture is often associated or confused with biodynamic agriculture, but what’s the difference?

Organic or Biodynamic?

Biodynamic agriculture is born in 1924 following fields deterioration caused by the advent of chemical substances meant to increase the yield of the soil. Biodynamics is based on the same principles of Organic Agriculture such as banning chemical fertilizers and pesticides but, it differs since it requires particular preparations composed of herbs and minerals to be sprayed on plants as well as following lunar cycles to sow or to work in the fields. These esoteric practices come from the idea that every substance in the world is formed by matter and life force where the preparations mentioned above are used to infuse the soil with life force. Even though these are considered spiritual practices, it is to say that they seem to enhance soil quality, to increase quantity of humus in the soil and consequently to harvest higher quality crops.

Now that you know the real meaning of “organic”, why don’t you try it?

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