Friday, February 17, 2012

Globalizing organic

Different definitions/requirements for certification has hindered the trade of organically grown food products among nations. There appears to have been a meeting of the minds and soon you'll be able to purchase organics from around the world. I'm not sure how most locavores feel abnout this. (GW)

Coming Soon To Your Grocery Aisle: Organic Food From Europe

By Dan Charles
February 15, 2012

If you buy organic products, your options may be about to expand. The U.S. and the European Union are announcing that they will soon treat each other's organic standards as equivalent. In other words, if it's organic here, it's also organic in Europe, and vice versa. Organic food companies are cheering because their potential markets just doubled.

Those formal definitions of "organic" actually were codified quite recently — just a few decades ago. Before that, organic farming was more of philosophy, based on the idea that you could grow healthier food by nurturing natural life in the soil. In different countries, there were different prophets of this idea: Rudolf Steiner in Germany; Sir Albert Howard in England; J.I. Rodale in the United States. All of them became organic advocates early in the 20th Century.

But Samuel Fromartz, author of the book Organic, Inc. and editor of the Food and Environment Reporting Network, says the different parts of this international movement were talking to each other from the beginning, and they came up with very similar practices.

"You were going to avoid pesticides; you were going to avoid chemical fertilizers; you were going to rely on natural means, enriching the soil through compost," he says.

Eventually, though, groups of farmers realized that they needed rules and a system of certification to make sure that anybody using the label "organic" was actually following those rules.

"They didn't want some other guy who was using some sort of pesticide or chemical fertilizer to also claim that he was organic," says Fromartz.

Those rules have now been written into government regulations. But they are slightly different on either side of the Atlantic. So organic certification here in the U.S. doesn't mean you can sell something as organic in Europe, and the other way around.

As a result, Matt McLean, founder of Uncle Matt's Organic in Clermont, Fla., doesn't even bother trying to sell his oranges or grapefruit juice in Europe.

"They have a couple of different things that they won't allow, that we do allow in organic production," he says. Those differences "are very minor, but it's just a headache for us, if we have to farm differently in different fields and have to keep track of it."

If a European company wants to sell organic chocolate in both the U.S. and Europe, it has to get its cocoa growers in West Africa certified as organic according to both systems.

On June 1, though, that complication and extra expense will go away. With just a few exceptions, if it's organic on one side of the Atlantic, it will also be organic on the other side.

Kathleen Merrigan, deputy secretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, made the announcement Wednesday at a trade show of the organic industry in Germany.

"Everybody was hoping that this day would come, and that we could have free trade in organic agriculture and get consumers what they want," she told NPR.

Getting to this point meant getting over some prejudices, Merrigan says. Many Europeans had the feeling that U.S. standards were probably too permissive for the benefit of big organic agribusiness. U.S. officials, for their part, didn't think the Europeans did enough verification to make sure farmers actually follow the rules.

The two sides spent a couple of years visiting each other and decided that those preconceptions were wrong. Basically, they now say, the organic standards are equivalent. Any small differences, they'll just disregard.

There's one significant exception. In Europe, organic farmers who work with animals are allowed to treat illnesses with antibiotics. In the U.S., they aren't, and that prohibition will remain. No meat or milk from animals treated with antibiotics can be imported and sold in the U.S. as organic.

McLean, from Uncle Matt's Organic, is happy to know that exporting fruit to Europe now is a realistic option.

"I think it's a historic agreement that's going to create a lot of opportunities for U.S. food companies, and also farmers, for sure," he says.

Organic grain from U.S. farmers may flow toward Europe, and more European chocolate or olive oil may show up in American supermarkets. Officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture are predicting that U.S. organic exports to Europe will triple within three years.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit


Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

ninest123 11.14
louis vuitton outlet, longchamp outlet, nike free, cheap oakley sunglasses, longchamp outlet, michael kors outlet store, replica watches, ray ban sunglasses, louis vuitton outlet, prada handbags, jordan shoes, nike air max, uggs on sale, replica watches, michael kors outlet, nike outlet, oakley sunglasses, polo outlet, michael kors outlet, ugg boots, christian louboutin uk, christian louboutin shoes, tiffany jewelry, burberry handbags, tory burch outlet, longchamp outlet, louis vuitton, christian louboutin outlet, oakley sunglasses, prada outlet, burberry outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet online, uggs outlet, michael kors outlet online, louis vuitton outlet, ugg boots, michael kors outlet online, ray ban sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, uggs outlet, louis vuitton, nike air max, michael kors outlet online, gucci handbags, tiffany and co, christian louboutin, oakley sunglasses wholesale, ray ban sunglasses

1:32 AM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

hogan outlet, nike air force, nike huaraches, timberland pas cher, vans pas cher, louboutin pas cher, coach outlet store online, nike air max, guess pas cher, michael kors, nike tn, north face, true religion outlet, nike air max uk, nike air max uk, new balance, michael kors pas cher, nike free uk, ray ban pas cher, converse pas cher, true religion jeans, nike blazer pas cher, longchamp pas cher, burberry pas cher, hollister uk, jordan pas cher, michael kors, true religion outlet, coach purses, coach outlet, polo lacoste, nike roshe run uk, sac vanessa bruno, ralph lauren uk, north face uk, lululemon canada, nike roshe, mulberry uk, air max, true religion outlet, nike free run, abercrombie and fitch uk, sac hermes, sac longchamp pas cher, nike trainers uk, polo ralph lauren, oakley pas cher, ray ban uk, michael kors outlet, hollister pas cher

1:34 AM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

reebok outlet, chi flat iron, mcm handbags, hollister clothing, bottega veneta, lululemon, gucci, celine handbags, nike air max, insanity workout, nike air max, north face outlet, new balance shoes, asics running shoes, beats by dre, s6 case, jimmy choo outlet, iphone cases, wedding dresses, converse, ray ban, hermes belt, abercrombie and fitch, timberland boots, iphone 6 cases, valentino shoes, iphone 6s plus cases, vans outlet, iphone 6s cases, herve leger, iphone 5s cases, instyler, baseball bats, ghd hair, vans, oakley, nfl jerseys, ipad cases, soccer jerseys, p90x workout, ralph lauren, giuseppe zanotti outlet, babyliss, mac cosmetics, mont blanc pens, iphone 6 plus cases, soccer shoes, ferragamo shoes, hollister, louboutin, nike roshe run, north face outlet

1:37 AM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

moncler, moncler, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, canada goose, supra shoes, moncler, canada goose, pandora jewelry, moncler outlet, marc jacobs, karen millen uk, moncler uk, canada goose outlet, canada goose jackets, moncler, doudoune moncler, thomas sabo, montre pas cher, pandora charms, swarovski crystal, converse outlet, louis vuitton, canada goose uk, michael kors outlet, juicy couture outlet, hollister, ugg pas cher, louis vuitton, barbour uk, louis vuitton, moncler outlet, toms shoes, canada goose outlet, michael kors handbags, coach outlet, pandora uk, juicy couture outlet, replica watches, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, canada goose outlet, swarovski, doke gabbana, louis vuitton, wedding dresses, canada goose, ugg, louis vuitton, barbour, links of london, ugg uk, lancel, pandora jewelry
ninest123 11.14

1:39 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home