Which ORGANIC label to choose?


Why is Hebdo Ecolo interested in the different organic labels in Europe?


It's simple, you cross three countries, France, Luxembourg and Germany and you can see almost 10 different logos appearing ... Here is a simple guide to better understand and consume better in Europe!


On the program in this article :

  1. Why so many ORGANIC labels?

  2. Generic labels

  3. Labels with additional requirements*

  4. Conclusion

*This article will evolve and be enriched in the following weeks with labels from other countries thanks to the participation of the community.









1. Why so many organic labels?



In the first article of this chapter devoted to Organic, we have detailed what was behind this so popular word.

Now we put ourselves in your shoes, you, in front of three ORGANIC potatoes, but with three different labels ...

But what exactly makes the difference?


The organic label in Europe is framed by a strict set of specifications being the reference.

We will speak here of minimum quality that does not affect the health of the environment or that of the people who consume these products.


Companies, organisations and associations have created their brand / label, more demanding and thus defending a superior product quality.


We explain it all to you, right now 😃



2. Generic labels



The basis, the European Organic Label


The reference system allowing you to identify a product that complies with the specifications of organic farming.


The national public labels



AB, Agriculture Biologique


📍France 🇫🇷

The conditions conditions of use of this mark are controlled by the Agence bio, a public interest group under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. The AB logo may be used optionally, in addition to the European logo. It is also used on productions that are not covered by the European regulation but by French specifications (for example pet food, rabbit or snail breeding products...).



BIO Siegel


📍 Germany 🇩🇪

Label used for all products already certified with the European label with the exception of the following products where the logo is not affixed :

  • Products of hunting and fishing of wild animals

  • Cosmetics

  • Pharmaceutical products

  • Products from establishments undergoing conversion.




Do you live or travel in Europe?



And you want to maintain a healthy diet, free of chemicals and not harmful to your health, even in another country? 👍

Here is THE guide to the main private labels in France, Belgium, Germany, England ... with stricter, more local, more social requirements ... then the positive ones ! 😃


3. Labels with additional requirements



Nature & Progrès


📍 France 🇫🇷


"It was Nature et Progrès that drew up the first specifications for organic production in France in 1972. It was taken over and approved in 1986 by the French government before being replaced by the European organic regulation, which is unique and common to all member states".par l’


Nature et progrès is a French brand of high quality from organic farming. 🌱


Some requirements for the EU label:

  • Prohibited traces of GMOs

  • Palm oil, whether or not organic, prohibited

  • Transport time for live animals limited to 6 hours

  • Non-contaminated product because no agriculture near roads or polluting factories ...

  • Takes into account social parameters


Nature & Progrès works transparently with us, the consumers.

All the specifications (plant production, brewing, sheep, pigs...) of this brand are available online.

You too can find a professional near you to buy honey, milk, jam and even cosmetic products.



Bio Cohérence                                                                        


📍 France 🇫🇷


"It is a French industry brand carried by producers, processors, distributors and consumers. It is a societal movement that encompasses the economic and social fields: job creation and maintenance, proximity and fairness of exchanges from the producer to the consumer.


The Bio Cohérence brand carries three strong values: environmental, ethical and economic.


Some requirements in relation to the EU label:

  • Withdrawal of the brand in case of GMO contamination.

  • Products made 100% in France

  • Ingredients 100% France

  • Limitation of animal transport times

  • Direct sales and specialty stores



The full specification is available online by comparing it with the European regulation. A transparency that does a lot of good!

Find the directory of shops as well as producers and processors for direct sales. It's just fantastic!



Demeter                                                                                      

📍 International 🌍


Demeter is a German brand of biodynamic agriculture, a step beyond organic farming, adding a spiritual and cosmic dimension.

It encompasses farming techniques as well as rituals of a mystical nature.


Some requirements for the EU label:

  • Solar and lunar cycles (night/day rhythms, tidal phenomena,...)

  • Nature's intelligence to accompany plants and animals towards harmonious development.

  • Use of composts and preparations based on medicinal plants



You can also find the producers (cereals, fruits, vegetables, meats...) winemakers (wine, creams, brandy, liqueur...) or processors (teas, fruit juices, vegetable juices, oils...) Demeter in your area.For example France Germany



Bio Lëtzebuerg


📍 Luxembourg 🇱🇺


Bio-Lëtzebuerg was founded on 27 February 2012 in Vichten in a mixed house. The association was born from the merger of the two organic farming associations "bio-LABEL" and "Demeter" in order to combine the strengths of both associations.


Its requirements are completely in line with Demeter's specifications.



Biogarantie                                                                              


📍 Belgique 🇧🇪


"This Belgian label, created at the end of the 80s, is the fruit of a spontaneous citizen grouping around the concept of organic farming."


It is also mandatory to already have the European Bio label because the Biogarantie (website in FR and NL) requirements are higher.


Some requirements compared to the EU label:

  • A fair price for a fair wage for the whole production chain.

  • Originate and source from local producers

  • All unnecessary packaging is avoided, preference is given to recycled materials.

  • Prepared and processed foods that contain more than 5% cane sugar, cocoa, coffee, banana or tea, which come from a country where social sustainability does not apply, cannot bear the Biogarantie label.



In contrast to the above labels, there is less transparency as the specifications are not available online.

On the biogarantie site, it is easy to access the list of all their members.



BIO Suisse / Ferme Bourgeon                                        

"Organic bud. The balance between man, animal and nature."


📍 Switzerland 🇨🇭


The Bud is the brand name of almost 7'300 Swiss agricultural and horticultural companies that produce according to Bio Suisse's specifications. More than 1,050 food and commercial companies produce or market Bud foodstuffs.


Some requirements for the EU label:


  • No air transport

  • Nesting* of rare species by providing them with habitat

  • No use of artificial vitamins

  • Transformation of a product without flavours and colouring agents

  • Strict controls, no genetic manipulation, strict import regulations.


Nesting : And I thought it was to create nests, well not to miss 🤣 ! This corresponds to the period when the bird incubates its eggs.

The Bio Suisse site also offers services to find shops, markets and even restaurants near you and even participate in activities related to solidarity agriculture.


"Bioland and Naturland are in Germany, the counterparts of the Bio Suisse label."



Naturland                                                                                  


📍 Germany 🇩🇪 & International 🌍


"Naturland farmers and food processors have been pioneers in organic farming for 40 years in Germany and around the world. In addition to the fields of agriculture, agro-ecology and food processing, Naturland is also active in the fields of forest management, aquaculture, textile production and ecological cosmetics.


Some requirements for the EU label:


  • Longer life span of an animal, poultry, pigs, ruminants and cattle

  • All workers, employees and their families must have access to safe drinking water, food, shelter and basic medical care.

  • Sustainable aquaculture and fisheries with the marine environment and surrounding terrestrial ecosystems that are protected



You can look at all the Naturland directives, (in Deutsh, English, Español, French, Italiano) with regard to production, aquaculture, the social aspect and their Naturland Fair label.

Read the seafood brochure (English).


Bioland                                                                                      


📍 Germany 🇩🇪


"Bioland is the leading association for organic farming in Germany. About 8,100 farmers, gardeners, beekeepers and winegrowers produce according to Bioland standards. In addition, more than 1,200 processors such as bakeries, dairies, butchers, restaurants and traders are partners of Bioland. They act as a community of shared values for the benefit of mankind and the environment".


Some requirements for the EU label:

  • The number of animals on an organic farm depends on the size of the farm's fields and pastures so that the animals can be fed with the farm's own fodder.

  • To preserve wildlife and create habitats for insects.

  • Do not use petroleum-based fertilizers,

  • Avoids long transport journeys and greenhouse gases

  • Uses renewable energy



The Bioland site (in German) gives dozens of tips on recipes or even gardens.


According to a study taken from the 2015 ranking of Helvetas' organic labels, Pusch, SKS, WWF, Demeter and Naturland are "highly recommended" and Bioland, "recommended".




Soil Association                                                                  


📍 United Kingdom 🇬🇧 (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland)


Soil Association Certification is the largest organic certification body in the UK, with over 50 years experience. We certify thousands of organic farms in the UK and our friendly and experienced producer certification team has helped many innovative farmers and producers across the UK convert to organic.


Some requirements for the EU label:


  • Fighting the GMO, pesticides and antibiotics lobby

  • Restrictions on chemical inks used on packaging

  • The packaging is not GMO or derivatives

  • Agriculture must not affect the reserves needed by the local and indigenous populations living in the surrounding area.

  • Restrictions on fertilizers and natural nutrients from the sea


All Soil Association standards are available online. A very appreciable transparency.





This article is likely to evolve and bring more content regarding labels from neighbouring countries, such as Spain, Italy, Sweden ...





Conclusion


In France in particular, the lobbies are powerful. Contrary to cigarettes, diesel for example, which are highly taxed products (the polluter-pays principle), this system is not in place for agriculture. The logic is reversed with the use of chemical products that are not taxed and the label Organic has to be paid for.


When you know that you swallow 4.8 Kg of chemical products per year with conventional food, buying organic products, preferably through direct sale, is therefore to support the preservation of your health, that of humanity, live animals and nature, which is so important.


Just as importantly, you support farmers and producers who want to do good for you!

Also, you reduce your carbon footprint, you contribute to ethical values such as fair wages, respect for the people living around you, reduction of suffering, cancer and many other fundamental issues.


If you have liked this article, please share it to support the Hebdo Ecolo Association fighting for ecological progress.

By sharing you can also make people thinking about it and maybe changing step by step.


Written by Mathieu


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Sources : Reporterre / Biogarantie / Bio cohérence / Demeter / Soilassociation / Bio suisse / Bioland / Naturland / Bio Lëtzebuerg/ Nature et progrès / Etat des lieux et perspectives / Fondation Nicolas Hulot / Réseau action climat / Simply science / Grand Panier BIO / Libération / IFOAM / Solagro / Arte / Bio consom'acteur / Generation Futures / La référence Bio / Planète science / Actu environnement / Noctea /



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