Eco, organic, bio: what does labeling on organic products mean

Every year, those who buy organic products, there are more and more. But dealing with organic labeling is not easy. In addition, some manufacturers mold eco-labels for every second can of cucumbers. We will tell you which products are considered organic and why organic and farm tomatoes are not the same thing.

Some argue that the Bio, Eco, and Organic labels are a marketing dummy, while others sweep all banks from green icons.

The truth, as always, is somewhere in between.

Eco, organic, bio: what does labeling on organic products mean

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We already wrote, how organic products differ from ordinary : they can produced only in ecologically clean areas without the use of mineral fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, hormones and GMOs. In general, the whole point of organic agriculture is to integrate into the ecosystem, and not subordinate it to humans.

Instead of mineral fertilizers on organic farms, manure and compost are used, pests are controlled by insects and birds, and weeds are harvested manually.

In livestock farming, antibiotics, feed with hormones and genetic engineering are prohibited.

Organic Certificate you can’t just buy. Every manufacturer who claims this title is tested for compliance with organic standards. A commission arrives at the farm to study the soil, check the conditions of the animals, the quality of the seed and harvesting equipment. In addition, the inspector can selectively interview employees for knowledge and understanding of organic standards.

In laboratories, finished products are checked for hundreds of points - starting with tests for the absence of heavy metals and ending with taste. Organic certification is valid for only one year, which means that the manufacturer must pass this global inspection every 12 months.

The standards for such certification can be either private or state. But so far, only 87 countries have legally prescribed standards for organic production. For example, in the US and Canada markets, the NOD (National Organic Program) standard is in force, in the European Union - the EU standard, in the Swiss markets - BIOSUISSE ORGANIC, and in Japan - the JAS eco standard.

USDA Organic Seal is an American organic program that checks products for compliance with organic NOD standards.

Euro Leaf - a sign of a unified certification system for food products manufactured in the European Union. To enter the European organic market, you must fulfill the requirements of the EU directives


, 889/08 and only then get this marking. Many Russian companies receive such a certificate in order to at least somehow confirm their status as a producer of organic products.

Over the 37 years of the existence of Bio Suisse has evolved from an association of Swiss farmers into a large organization with about 6,000 farms.

JAS - certification according to Japanese organic standards.

Bio-Siegel is another popular organic label in the EU. This mark was introduced in Germany in 2011, it means that the product is at least 95% organic.

In Russia, the law on the production of organic products will be adopted in the near future - he is already under consideration in the State Duma. Nevertheless, the absence of a law does not stop Russian farmers, and those who want to officially produce organic products undergo international certification.

That is why on some bio-products of Russian production you can see the signs of USDA, Euro Leaf and others. In addition, those who choose international certification systems can easily supply products to international markets.

Russia also has its own voluntary certification system, which was developed by the Ecological Union of St. Petersburg: “Leaflet of Life”. The certification system and the standards themselves are the same as in the EU, but the sanitary and epidemiological standards of Russia are also taken into account here.

In addition, since the beginning of 2017, GOSTs

for accreditation have been in force in the country


rules for the production of organic products

. Both of these standards are fully consistent with European organic agriculture and IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Farming) regulations. Compliance with these GOSTs indicates the integrity of the manufacturer.

In addition to organic markings, on the products of Russian production there are inscriptions "farm", "natural" and "environmentally friendly". These are perhaps the most popular forms of greenwashing, or "green marketing.

" Greenwashing is one of the marketing options where a product or service is positioned as environmentally friendly.

Eco, organic, bio: what does labeling on organic products mean

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In fact, this inscription does not carry any information except that this product was produced on a farm. Nevertheless, many fall for this trick - it seems logical to use natural methods of production on a tiny farm. But the

Federal Farm Law

says nothing about how to grow and care for plants and livestock on the farm.

In reality, farms often use both mineral fertilizers and antibiotics on a scale comparable to large agricultural complexes. Farmers take such a step in order to reduce costs and reduce risks.

Eco, organic, bio: what does labeling on organic products mean

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All products that hit the supermarket shelves have been tested for environmental safety and are environmentally friendly a priori. According to

Sanitary Rules and Norms 2.

3. 2.1078 . 01,

it is forbidden to write "environmentally friendly product" on food products: everything that such an inscription does is distracting and misleading the consumer.

Eco, organic, bio: what does labeling on organic products mean

Photo: shutterstock.


This means that the product was grown in nature and not in the laboratory. But this does not preclude the use of chemicals, antibiotics and hormones.

General statements, non-existent markings, prefixes "bio", "eco" and "organic" - these are also true signals of greenwashing. According to GOST of the ecological labels , it is impossible to use general formulations and statements that are not supported by laboratory tests. That is, the inscriptions "non-polluting", "100% natural" and "environmentally friendly" and the like are prohibited.

The manufacturer's statements must be clear: "without milk powder", "without dyes", "without preservatives" and so on.

Eco, organic, bio: what does labeling on organic products mean

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Products deserve trust only with the organic marking, which is confirmed by an international certificate. But here you need to be very careful. For example, the Euro Leaf label must be accompanied by two labels: the code number of the control authority and the place where the agricultural raw materials that make up the product were grown.

There are databases where there are all companies that have ever received a license. For example, such a database is

at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)

. On the website of the National Organic Union

all Russian producers of

of organics are collected.

If you can’t even imagine where bio-products can be found in your city, the application "Ekо can help shelf " . Here you can find not only food, but also household chemicals, construction products and electronics.



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