Bundesinformationszentrum landwirtschaft how to recognize organic foods

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Whether a food product is "organic or "organic" in the name does not make any difference in principle. Both names are protected by law. Production and processing are carried out in accordance with the EU Organic Regulation and, if applicable, also in accordance with the guidelines of one of the nine organic farming associations.

Caution is advised with labels such as "integrated farming" or "controlled", "from controlled contract cultivation", "environmentally friendly", "extensive", "natural", "untreated", or "controlled. These terms do not indicate production or processing in the sense of organic agriculture. They are not certified organic.

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Mandatory labeling for organic food

The EU organic logo is the obligatory EU-wide identification mark for organic foodstuffs. Source: European Commission

There are also regulations regarding the declaration. This is how pre-packaged organic food (for example, cookies or milk in a Tetrapak) must be labeled with the EU organic logo. The Community logo, a stylized leaf on a green background, was initiated by the European Commission and is recognized throughout the EU.

The EU organic logo may only be used for foodstuffs that are allowed to bear a reference to organic production and processing in the sales description, e.g. "organic liver sausage" or "organic quark.

Thus, the EU organic logo gives consumers at a glance clarity that the food offered meets the following conditions:

– At least 95 percent of the ingredients of agricultural origin have been produced in accordance with EU legislation on organic farming. – The product complies with the rules of the official control program. – The product comes directly from the producer or processor in a sealed package. – The product bears the name of the producer, processor or wholesaler and the name or control code of the control body.

The German organic seal may only be used in addition to the EU organic logo. The German organic seal was introduced in 2001. Has a high degree of recognition. It may still be printed on the packaging in addition to the EU logo, and this is still being used extensively.

Supplementary information: Code number and indication of origin

In the same field of vision as the logo is a code number, such as AB-CDE-123, which has the same structure throughout the EU. It indicates by which organic inspection body or authority the product has been certified as an organic product.

– AB: ISO code of the country where the controls take place; "DE" stands for Germany – CDE: the three-letter designation defined by the Commission or the Member State, for example "oKO" In the case of a German inspection body number – 123: a reference number, no more than three digits long, for the organic inspection body assigned to it upon its approval. In addition to the logo and the code number, the origin of the agricultural raw materials is also indicated in the same visual field. The indications vary according to the country of production and can be as follows: EU agriculture, if the agricultural raw materials were produced in the EU. Non-EU agriculture: if the agricultural raw materials were produced in third countries – indication of the country name alone or additionally: if all agricultural raw materials were produced in the same country.

In order to be safe with loosely offered commodity for example on weekly markets and in farm stores, customers can ask for the valid inspection certificate. The code number of the organic inspection body must be present as a mandatory label on all organic foods.

Trademarks of the associations

In addition to the EU organic logo, the trademarks of organic farming associations can be printed on organic products. Associations such as Demeter, Bioland or Naurland existed in Germany a very long time before the first legal regulations for the protection of organic were introduced. Around half of all farms producing organic products. processing plants is affiliated with one of the nine growers' associations in total. As a result, they undertake to comply with the respective association guidelines, which are stricter in some respects than the EU standard.

Products with association trademarks can be found both in health food stores and, increasingly, in supermarkets. Imported organic products may occasionally bear the trademarks of foreign growers' associations.

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