Health Supreme by Sepp Hasslberger

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January 18, 2013

European Union seeks consumer input on organic agriculture

The European Union on Tuesday took the debate about genetically modified crops to the public with a survey asking citizens to share their thoughts on organic farming, reports in a recent article titled EU asks citizens to join debate on GM food

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The article continues ... The bloc's 500 million consumers are invited to complete an anonymous online questionnaire on the European Commission's Agriculture and Rural Development website ( The consultation, which ends on April 10, is part of a review of European policy on organic agriculture.

The survey is available in all official EU languages. English is the one linked here, but other languages are available from a drop-down menu at the top of the page.

The article, putting emphasis on the GM angle, goes on to say...

- - -

"Noting that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are considered incompatible with organic farming, the survey asks participants whether they specifically buy organic products because they are "GMO-free" and whether consumers would put up with higher prices if it meant the accidental low-level presence of GMO in organic products was clearly labelled.

"Organic farming covers a relatively limited part of the EU's utilised agricultural area—around five percent—but the sector is driven by ever-increasing consumer demand," says the website.

"In the current economic downturn, will consumers continue to turn towards a more sustainable lifestyle and higher consumption of organic products?"

The initiative from the office of EU agriculture commissioner Dacian Ciolos aims to reignite the debate on growing genetically modified food inside the bloc."

After taking the survey, I noticed that additional comments can be sent by email. I did so, expressing my personal preference for regulating organic food production. The major point I make is that organic should be the new normal.

My comment was the following:

"I do not believe that all the current regulation is necessary on organic food production or that the existing rules should be strengthened by imposing more controls on organics.

Organic should be the *natural* and preferred way to produce food, not just an escape from current ag practices.

Strict regulations should be applied to industrial/chemical farming to prevent environmental degradation, gm contamination, soil degradation, soil erosion, ground water contamination and danger to people's health from pesticide and herbicide residues...

To make organic the preferred form of production, organic should be given a boost by being regulated on a "we trust you" basis. We should be giving more trust to organic farmers, especially small operations for which organic certification is too onerous but which nevertheless cultivate their produce without input of chemical pesticides, herbicides and artificial fertilizers. Less "inspection before the fact" and more controls of residues in produce, both organic and conventional. Only where residues or contamination are found in the produce, should inspection and eventually sanctions be applied.

After all, traditional agriculture for centuries, if not millennia, has been "organic" in the sense that no chemicals were used. Chemicals and GM are recent additions to the agricultural armamentarium. It is the chemicals, which deplete and degrade soils and the GM that contaminates and produces resistant weeds, that should be controlled and limited, not so much the organic producers.

The goal should be to bring all of agriculture closer to organic, rather than to rigorously distinguish organics from the so-called "conventional" but really rather recent chemical-intensive cultivation."

If you wish to take the survey, go here:

and if you have something extra to say, you can use the following email to do so:


posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Friday January 18 2013
updated on Thursday January 26 2017

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