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Organic seals and their meaning

Demeter, Bioland and Naturland. If you produce organic food, you’ve probably heard of these organic labels. For years, new certifications have sprouted from the ground, so that even conscious consumers no longer have an overview of which seal stands for what. There is no one special seal. Instead, you can have your goods labeled with many different certifications. For this purpose, different requirements must be met in each case. Which seal suits your products? We bring order into the organic seal chaos.

Food with an organic label is becoming increasingly popular

If you produce organic food, you should definitely think about a possible certification. Because that can increase your sales. In the food trade, people are increasingly choosing products with organic or Fairtrade seals. That gives a good feeling – and it tastes much better with it. Although many do not even know about the background and requirements of the various seals, people regularly reach for the organic shelf. Do you have organic products in your range? Then certification is a good option for you.

More and more seals are being printed on packaging. In Germany alone there are over 100 different food seals that are supposed to provide information about food and drinks as well as their production. The best-known organic seals are:

  • Demeter,
  • Organic land,
  • Naturland,
  • Biopark,
  • Ecoland as well
  • the EU organic label.

Even retail chains are now developing their own seals to highlight certain goods on the shelf. This means that even on the shelves of the discounter you can find products of biological origin according to different rules. Which seal is suitable for your products? We at Ehlert show you which requirements have to be met in each case.

The EU seal – minimum standards according to the organic regulation

The EU organic seal is very well known. The white, leaf-shaped stars on a green background adorn the packaging of various foods. The seal confirms compliance with the strict EU regulations for organic farming. Since 2010 it has to be present on prepackaged organic food from the EU. The certification consists not only of the logo, but has two additions: a code number with the organic inspection body and the indication of the origin of the ingredients used (from EU agriculture or non-EU agriculture). In order to be allowed to label food with the EU organic seal, the following criteria must be met:

  • Chemical-synthetic pesticides and fertilizers must be avoided.
  • The food must not be associated with genetic engineering.
  • For processing are a maximum of 53 different additives
  • In animal husbandry, the specified number of animals per hectare of habitat as well as the appropriate type of husbandry must be adhered to.
  • Animals that are used for food production may only be fed with organic feed. The use of preventive antibiotics is prohibited.
  • A food must demonstrably meet these criteria to at least 95% in order to be certified.

Can you meet the requirements? The special organic inspection bodies in Germany are responsible for the inspection. There you have to register as a producer and prove the ecological aspects as well as the possible traceability. It is also important that the organic products are in no way mixed with non-organic products during production.

Bioland: The largest organic cultivation association in Germany

Another seal is that of Bioland. It is awarded by the Bioland cultivation association and is one of the leading. In addition to food for us humans, it is also awarded in the field of plants and animal feed. At Bioland, the focus is not only on origin and production, but also on an ecological cycle. This means that the certified companies use their resources cleverly: animal manure is used, among other things, as fertilizer on the cultivated fields. The following aspects must be met for certification:

  • The entire operation is “organic”.
  • The number of animals per hectare is reduced according to the specifications of Bioland.
  • A species-appropriate run for laying hens and grazing for cattle are the order of the day.
  • 50% of the animal feed comes from our own farm and 100% from organic production.
  • The transport of farm animals takes a maximum of 4 hours. The respective distance is not more than 200 kilometers.
  • The amount of fertilizer is controlled and reduced according to the specifications.

They are also involved in the further processing of food only 22 additives allowed . These criteria make the Bioland seal a higher quality certification. In the area of animal welfare in particular, different standards are set here than with the EU seal. This can pose a number of hurdles for you as a producer. But depending on the product and target group, the seal on the packaging can be profitable for you.

The Demeter seal: Demanding with regard to sustainability aspects

Demeter e. V. and sets up biological guidelines for the origin and production of food. The cultivation association in Germany includes around 1,700 farmers with an area of 93,000 hectares. The seal not only applies to food, but also to cosmetic items. The guidelines for a changeover are strict and more comprehensive than for the Bioland seal.

  • The entire business has to be converted and exclusively managed in a biologically dynamic manner.
  • Animal husbandry is compulsory for agricultural operations: at least 0.2 farm animals per hectare are required. Alternatively, cooperation with another Demeter company or intensive compost management is possible.
  • The animal welfare requirements are high. Unlike the EU organic regulation, dehorning of animals is not allowed. Dehorned animals may only be kept on the farms under certain regulations.
  • The animal feed must be 100% organic and at least 50% must come from the company’s own farm or from a Demeter cooperation. Depending on the animal species, a minimum amount is specified for the feeding of organic feed. The exclusive feeding of silage is not provided.
  • During the summer months, the animals receive at least 50% green fodder, preferably through grazing. If possible, hay should be fed in winter.
  • When processing food, at least 90% of the ingredients must come from Demeter production. In addition, there must be no hidden ingredients on the packaging declaration.

This is only a part of the regulations that a Demeter company must comply with. The seal requires a high degree of ecological thinking and action. For a change, a lot has to be done in your company. That is why the changeover is not feasible for many companies.

Naturland – observance of social aspects

With the creation of the Naturland label in 1982, global organic farming was to be promoted. With more than 65,000 producers, Naturland is now one of the largest organic associations in the world. This seal also demands more than the EU organic regulation:

  • The entire company must switch to organic,
  • the amount of fertilizer is limited,
  • Animals are given more space and grazing or exercise per hectare,
  • Transports may take a maximum of 8 hours,
  • 50% of the feed must come from the own farm,
  • only 22 additives are permitted for food processing.
  • Naturland also offers an additional seal. The Naturland Fair certification ensures social guidelines, trade relationships, regionality, fair trade and other social aspects. This sets the seal apart from the rest and gives Naturland a unique selling point.

Which organic label is the right one?

This question comes up if you are interested in a possible certification. The EU seal can be achieved with less effort and is therefore the easiest way to label food with an organic seal. Depending on the product, target group and corporate philosophy, a major change can also be worthwhile. Do you have any questions about organic products? We are proud that we have been certified in the field of spices and spice blends by the auditing company for organic farming. We would be happy to advise you on a possible switch and answer your questions.

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