Organic vegetables: what are they?
We are becoming more sustainable, paying more attention to our environment and what we consume. No wonder that the well-known organic seal is becoming more and more popular. Shops that only offer organic products are springing up. Even in large supermarket chains, conventional vegetables are being replaced by organic products.
We say: Rightly so! Organic is finally getting the attention it deserves. We at Löwenshare have always relied on 100% natural organic food. Nevertheless, there is often still uncertainty about what exactly 'organic' actually means. What does it actually stand for? What makes 'organic' so much better than run-of-the-mill vegetables? And why are we also self-confessed organic fans?
What does organic mean?
Vegetables, fruit, meat, honey - you can even get unhealthy ready meals such as pizza in organic quality these days. Reason enough to ask yourself what exactly 'organic' even means, right?
Important to know when dealing with the topic of biology: It is a protected term. Producers and processors (just like us at Löwenshare) are not allowed to use the organic seal arbitrarily, but have to meet certain criteria. That gives you, as a consumer, the good feeling: If it says organic, I can be sure that it also contains organic.
Since 1993, both the terms 'organic' and 'eco' have been protected by the so-called EC Organic Regulation. Each food is monitored by one of the 17 organic control bodies based in Germany, whose code number must be stated on the respective packaging.
If you choose an organic product, you choose the following: A food that comes from ecologically controlled cultivation, is not genetically modified and was grown without the use of chemical-synthetic pesticides, artificial fertilizers or sewage sludge.
In order to distinguish organic from conventional products, the state-controlled organic seal was introduced in Germany in 2001. The hexagonal logo with a green tick and "organic" lettering is based on the EC Organic Regulation of 1993. However, a lot has happened in the last 30 years - which is why the European Union introduced an additional organic seal in 2010. The Euro-Blatt is the EU Commission's seal of quality for organic food that is produced in accordance with the EU organic regulation. Both seals are often used in combination to make it clear what has been taken into account with the respective product:
- no mineral fertilizer
- renunciation of genetic engineering
- No synthetic dyes and pharmaceuticals, preservatives and flavor enhancers
- No harmful pesticides
- No artificial fertilizers or sewage sludge
Why are organic vegetables better than conventionally grown ones?
In order to understand why organic is often praised and why we in our pride of lions also rely exclusively on organic, it must first be clarified what exactly pesticides and other harmful substances can do to the body. After all, we often hear “pesticide and pollutant-free” – but what is meant by that is not explained in detail.
Time to create clarity: According to the Munich Environment Institute e. V. , pesticides are “substances that eliminate undesirable organisms in agriculture.” Depending on whether they are used against fungi, insects or weeds, they are referred to as fungicides, insecticides or herbicides. The term "plant protection product" does not initially imply something bad at the same time - after all, "plant protection" sounds pretty good... right?
Not necessarily. Because yes: On the one hand, plants are protected from predators, etc. However, this also kills other organisms or restricts their life: the food of wild animals is reduced or soil organisms are killed.
Another ethically questionable point are the farm workers who (have to) work with pesticides: According to a study by Sara Mostafalou and Mohammad Abdollahi, field workers who come into direct contact with pesticides have a higher incidence of cancer.
So if you consciously choose organic food or a delicious organic chili , you ensure that neither innocent organisms are killed nor the health of farm workers affected. If that doesn't sound good!
But shouldn't the amounts of pesticides be regulated by law?
Yes, they have to: Infinitely many pesticides are not allowed to be used!
Around 280 pesticide active ingredients are currently approved in Germany, each of which has a maximum permissible use limit. However, there is no such thing as a maximum permissible number of different pesticides that can be used on food. In plain language: fruit and vegetables can often be contaminated with several pesticides - sometimes even with up to 30 different ones!
In addition, the long-term effects of using several pesticides have not been sufficiently researched. The Munich Environmental Institute V. even goes so far as to describe the food controls in Germany as inadequate and us consumers as guinea pigs. Many authorities would not examine foods for all 280 active ingredients, but only for around 100-150.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) also publishes a “Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce” each year, in which it shows which 12 fruits and vegetables contain the most pesticides. Also known as the "dirty dozen," these foods are contaminated with more pesticides than other crops, according to extensive analysis.
Some of the results: Most pesticides were detected on hot peppers and peppers. A sample of kale, collards and mustard contained up to 20 different contaminants. And more than 90% of samples from apples, strawberries, leafy greens or cherries tested positive for residues of at least two pesticides. You can find the detailed results here .
How do I protect myself from pesticides?
First of all, it is important to note that nobody is perfect. You're not going to die from eating a pesticide-laden apple or choosing the cheaper zucchini. As with so many things, the following applies here: the quantity makes the difference. Nevertheless: It has been proven that too many pesticides are definitely harmful to health. That was and is exactly the reason that at Löwenshare we said “no” to conventionally grown food from the start. Whether it's the carrots, coconut milk or mango in the delicious chickpea curry or the lentils and pumpkin seeds in the hearty mountain lentil stew : we don't put pesticides in our glasses. We rely on 100% natural organic food of the highest quality.
Also, many people still believe (wrongly!) that they can just wash away the pollutants. Wait… “easy”? Isn't that. The only thing you're washing clean when you try to clean the veggies is your conscience. Only a very small part of the pesticides is washed off - even with certain fruit detergents, as this study has shown.
The better solution: Use a baking soda and water mixture or a saline solution to rub down your fresh food. Also important: Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after peeling a banana, mango, etc. Otherwise, you risk getting pesticides from your hands onto the pulp while eating.
The best solution…
...is therefore: Don't eat any pesticides! Of course it sounds easier than it is. But your health is already extremely helped if you z. B. do not decide for the conventional, but for the organic pumpkin. Just pay a little more attention to what you eat and prioritize your health.
Also, try to imagine what exactly you are supporting with conventional fruits and vegetables: making poor farmhands sick, innocent organisms dying, and harming your own health. The more often you buy pesticide-free vegetables and fruit, the better - for you and for the environment.