True or false
“Organic products are not of the same high quality as other food and drink”
Although farmers and other operators in the organic supply chain may sometimes use different methods of food production, they are just as focused on producing food and drink of the highest quality with an appealing taste and nutritional benefits as other non-organic producers. Organic food is produced to the same food safety standards as other foods and must comply with EU General Food law. The difference is that rather than using inputs such as chemical synthetic pesticides to combat pests or weeds, organic farmers use multi-annual crop rotations and resistant varieties to avoid such problems from occurring in the first place. And rather than using artificial preservatives and flavour enhancers, organic farmers and processors seek to keep produce as fresh as possible by focusing on in-season production and regional and local markets.
“Organic products taste different from other food and drinks”
Some consumers claim that organic food tastes better, although several studies within the EU exploring the relative taste of organic and non-organic food, have not found any conclusive evidence to back up these claims. However, more and more well-known chefs are choosing to use organic ingredients in their meals and organic farming does produce a wider variety of species of plants and livestock, thereby allowing consumers like you the opportunity to discover new tastes and eating experiences. It’s also important to remember that organic farmers and producers do not claim that their products will taste better than others, only that they will have an authentic taste, because they will have been produced in a natural way.
“Organic products cost more than other food and drink”
Because of the longer production times, sometimes greater labour requirements, careful separation from conventional products, smaller scale food processing and distribution, more stringent controls and certifications involved in organic production, organic operators often have to pass on the higher cost of production to consumers if they are to be financially viable. But this cost could be considered as a premium paid for quality food that has been produced according to strict principles, such as environmental protection, animal welfare and social and economic improvement.
“Organic farming systems are less productive than other systems and involve the use of more land”
Scientists have not come to a conclusion about whether yields from organic farming are lower than those of other agricultural systems. Several studies have been produced arguing both sides of the story. One study that found a comparable level of productivity between the two systems is the often-quoted Report by Cornell University in the US on a Rodale Institute farming trial. This trial found that, over a 22-year trial period, organic farming produced the same wheat and soybean yields as non-organic farms, but used 30% less energy, less water and no chemical synthetic pesticides.
“The large number of organic logos means there are no common rules for organic production in the EU”
There are indeed a large number of organic farming logos that appear on food and drink throughout the EU, including the EU organic logo and the logos used by the different Member States. These logos do give you the assurance that the products bearing them comply with the strict EU rules for organic production in the different Member States and are used to increase visibility of organic products. The EU legislation on organic production is designed to be an EU-wide system of governance for the sector which nonetheless advances well-established country-specific marketing efforts. The national and private logos, being well known by the consumers in their own country, continue on the products. The use of the EU organic logo is not currently mandatory, but will be as of 1 July 2010.