Organic concepts and quality labels

Nature's glossary

Labels are full of claims, terms and quality marks. Here is our guide to separating the quality label wheat from the marketing chaff.

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What is Skal?

As the regulator, Skal Biocontrole is committed to demonstrating the reliability of organic products in the Netherlands.

Organic is a legally protected term. Organic legislation is aimed at maintaining and justifying consumer confidence in organic products. An agricultural product or food supplement can only be called organic if the production process complies with legal requirements.

European legislation lays down the rules; certified organic producers comply with these rules; and Skal monitors compliance. In this way the consumer can be sure that an organic product is indeed organic. The Ministry of Economic Affairs has commissioned Skal to be the regulator for the entire organic production chain.

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What does the Green Leaf symbol mean?

Every enterprise that wants to produce, process, package, import, trade or store organic products must be certified to do so. So this applies to all companies in the chain except the shops that sell packaged products direct to the end consumer.

Through the issuing of this quality label Skal makes the reliability of organic products visible to the customer and consumer. In this way Skal contributes to and demonstrates the reliability of the organic sector.

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What does the EKO quality label mean?

Previously this was the quality label for certified organic products. This logo has since been replaced by the European Green Leaf.

What the EKO quality label means has changed somewhat since. It means that the organic producers with this label strive to be more sustainable than the European regulations for organic farming and food production currently prescribe. It complements the European Green Leaf.

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What is Biodynamic?

Biodynamic agriculture and nutrition is a special form of organic production, with higher demands for animal welfare, closed holistic cycles and ecology. In addition to organic standards, biodynamic farmers have to comply with extra requirements. More importance is attached to a closed cycle.

The biodynamic process strives for a complete reproduction cycle of crops and animals, and attention is given to spiritual and cosmic aspects. In a biodynamic enterprise, cows have horns, you will often find both livestock and arable farming (mixed farms), and nature is seen as an important component in the enterprise. Such companies are often very diverse and you see many birds, butterflies and flowers.

The products often have a strong regional character. The agricultural firm not only produces, but also plays an active role in the community. Biodynamic firms are often care farms or have a different social function.

Moreover, in the processing of biodynamic products additional requirements apply over and above “organic”. Milk for instance cannot be homogenized and fewer additives may be used (citric acid and ascorbic acid for example are forbidden). Only pure aroma extracts may be used in biodynamic products to enrich the flavour.

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What is Demeter?

Demeter products are certified biodynamic products.

All products with a Demeter quality label comply in any case with the standards required for organic farming, such as those specified under European legislation. Farmers and processors who also meet the Demeter standards and directives receive a Demeter certificate after inspection and are allowed to display the Demeter quality label.

What is Reform?

“Let the natural be as natural as possible”. That is the motto of Reform. The Reform movement wanted to prevent and cure diseases through healthy and natural nutrition in a natural way. The movement originated in Germany at the end of the 19th century. Reform products are composed of as many purely natural ingredients as possible, but can also contain ‘conventional’ non-organic ingredients.

No aromatic additives, colourants or flavourings and no artificial preservatives may be used in the production process. Well-known examples of Reform products are yeast flakes, lecithin, wheat / oat bran, nutrition supplements, herbs and homeopathic medicines. These can naturally give your body a boost if this is sometimes necessary. The use of alcohol and tobacco are not recommended and instead of coffee and tea, cereal-based coffee substitutes and herbal mixtures are recommended.

What is Fair Trade?

Fair Trade helps farmers and workers in developing countries to gain a better position in international trade, so that they can live from their labour and invest in a sustainable future. Fair Trade is both a quality label and a worldwide movement.

Is organic also Fair Trade?

Actually organic and Fair Trade have no links. Organic is about the way in which you run agriculture and about your approach to the earth. Fair Trade is concerned with trade, mainly in developing countries. What is organic does not necessarily have to be Fair Trade, and vice-versa. In practice, organic and Fair Trade go hand in hand. After all, the underlying idea is the same: being honest in dealing with life on earth.

Lees meer over Fair Trade

Blue tick & Green tick (the healthier choice / the conscious choice)

The food industry tries to propose a health choice for the consumer by giving these quality labels. Less sugar, salt or saturated fat determines this food choice logo. The ultimate aim to make the Netherlands healthier by helping the consumer choose products with this logo. The green tick applies to the basic food products from the Disc of 5 (similar to the Eatwell Guide in the UK or the Healthy Food Pyramid in the USA), and you find these ticks on bread, dairy products and fruit that are slightly healthier than other bread, dairy products or fruit.

Blue ticks can be found on products that you don’t need every day and which are slightly healthier than other products in their range. Sweets, syrup, hotdogs and crisps can get a tick. In the Natuurwinkel you won’t find these ticks because our products are already healthier and more conscious choices. Are you looking for this sort of product? We will gladly help you and we can also explain why you should choice a particular product.

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