Vegetables and fruits are at the base of the new nutrition pyramid, we should eat as much of them as possible, that’s why more and more people are paying attention to make sure they are of good quality and heading towards BIO crops. Ecology has been becoming fashionable for some time, which is a positive phenomenon.
However, there are also additional problems because of this, some people are trying to impersonate organic farming by offering vegetables and fruits “from the countryside” or “straight from the field”, which have nothing to do with organic food. In fact, it is difficult to get an organic certificate, you have to follow strict rules and meet all standards. However, thanks to this, the customer can be absolutely sure that he is buying the best quality product.
What is worth knowing so as not to get lost in all this?
1) The only thing that matters is the official certificate, without it, any information on the label, such as “bio”, “organic”, “100% of nature”, is irrelevant.
2) BIO=organic=ecological, these are synonyms.
3) Vegetables and fruits sold “straight from the farmer” do not have to have anything to do with organic crops (and usually do not).
How to recognize an organic product
Organic farming is subject to strict control, to which all farmers who wish to obtain and maintain a certificate must submit. The cultivation process is controlled from the moment of planting, or rather selection of seeds, to the delivery of food to the customer.
Everything counts – cultivation methods, land, means used, seeds. The certificate is not granted once and for all, it must be renewed every year and the farms are subject to regular unannounced inspections, so any possible fraud would immediately come to light. This way we can be sure that the certificates are reliable and always up-to-date.
In the European Union, the food is certified as “green leaf”, which gives a 100% guarantee that we have an organic product in our hands. It is a characteristic symbol of a green leaf with stars. It is worth adding that it is also allowed to change the color of the certificate for single-color printing.
Apart from it, the following information should be included on the packaging:
- identification number of the certification body, which starts with the country code
- manufacturer’s details
- the indication of the place where the raw materials were produced (whether they come from the European Union or not or the name of a particular country)
What are the principles of growing and processing organic food
The rules are strictly defined, the seeds must be of appropriate origin, all artificial aids to the crop are forbidden, transport must take place in a specific way, the products must be properly labelled and the products must be prepared in a completely natural, traditional way.
- synthetic plant protection products such as pesticides, fungicides, herbicides are prohibited
- artificial fertilisers may not be used
- the seeds or plants for propagation must be produced organically
- food cannot be irradiated
- transport must be carried out in marked, closed packaging or, if the food is in bulk, both parties must be controlled
- only traditional processing is allowed – e.g. mechanical, fermentation
- only permitted additives listed in the Regulation may be used in the preparations
- Synthetic products are not allowed in the products:
What resources can be used in organic farming?
The fact that organic farming is used does not mean that the plants are left “to their fate” and must take care of themselves.
In organic farming, a number of ways can be used to deal with pests and weeds, as well as to naturally support plant growth:
- Biological methods, i.e. using natural enemies of pests
- Crop rotation
- Caries (composted manure or other organic materials)
- green, organic or mineral fertilizers of natural origin
- formulations of microorganisms
- mechanical weeding
Why choose ecological products?
Organic vegetables and fruits guarantee that the product we reach for is completely safe for health, free of chemical substances and heavy metals. This is usually of particular importance for parents of infants and small children, but it is worth switching the whole family to organic food, which is healthier, tastier and more natural. There are studies that suggest that it may contain more antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Buying products from local organic farmers is particularly important. This helps us support them while knowing exactly where our fruits and vegetables come from, and in many cases we even have the chance to meet farmers in person. If only there is such an opportunity, it is always worth choosing organic products that will certainly contribute to the improvement of our health and that of our family.