Organic food to come under governmental supervision

Agriculture Ministry indeed found that all the foods claimed to be organic were pesticide-free.

By EHUD ZION WALDOKS
August 31, 2008 21:31
2 minute read.
Organic food to come under governmental supervision

organic seals 224.88. (photo credit: )

Worried that so-called organic companies might be pulling the wool over your eyes? Starting Monday morning, the Agriculture Ministry will begin overseeing both organic produce and packaged goods. In another year, it will oversee livestock raised using organic methods. What should you look for? Two things: the symbol of the Agriculture Ministry and one of the three symbols of the organizations the ministry has deputized to monitor organic food. The three organizations are Skal Israel Inspection and Certification, Agrior Inspection and Certification, and IQC - the Center for Quality Control. The responsibility was placed upon the ministry by a new law and related regulations that go into effect September 1. In addition to the certification, according to the regulations, any store that sells both organic and nonorganic products must set up a separate stand for the organic food so that people don't get confused. For example, organic tomatoes cannot be sold right next to regular tomatoes. What's more, the stand must have a large sign noting that organic food is sold there. By instituting this oversight system, Israel will join the EU, the US, Japan, Australia and other countries who already mandate adherence to legal standards in the production of organic food. Organic food is grown without the use of artificial fertilizers, pesticides, sewage sludge or human waste, and is not genetically modified or grown using additives. Organically raised animals do not receive growth hormones, nor certain antibiotics. While an organic food revolution has been sweeping the developed world for the past 20 years, there has been some controversy surrounding the issue. Some critics claim that organic yields are much lower than conventional farming and require much more land, which could threaten ecosystems as they expand. There has also been concern that developing countries do not have sufficient access to natural fertilizer and would not be able to sustain themselves through organic farming. But other studies have shown that organic farming yields nearly match conventional farming and do very well in adverse conditions such as drought. Initial results of a large EU study into organic foods claimed that organic fruits and vegetables had many times more antioxidants than nonorganic ones, as did organic milk. However, the final results of the study have yet to be published. There has also been no conclusive study as to which tastes better - organic or conventional. Organic food might tend to look a bit different, not as uniformly shaped as conventionally grown produce. Organic food also tends to be more expensive because of the amount of work that goes into producing it, in addition to potentially smaller yields. Organic eggs, for instance, are about twice the cost of regular ones in Israel. Worldwide sales of organic food have grown from $23 billion in 2002 to $40b. in 2006, making organic the fastest growing sector of the food market. Israeli consumers needn't worry that the food they thought was organic actually wasn't. According to studies conducted in the past year and a half, the ministry found that all the foods claimed to be organic were pesticide-free.


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