Critics also worry about the erosion of organic standards. Big food company lobbyists could then push for amendments and exceptions in favor of large-scale production, thereby producing "legally organic" products in a manner similar to current conventional foods. The fact that organic products are currently sold mainly through high-volume distribution channels such as supermarkets raises concerns that the market is changing in favor of the largest producers, which could result in small organic farmers being squeezed out.
Initially, from the 1960s to the 1980s, the organic food industry consisted mainly of small independent farmers selling locally. Organic "certification" is a matter of trust based on a direct relationship between farmer and consumer. Criticisms point to regulatory certification as a potential barrier to market entry for small producers because of increased costs, paperwork and bureaucracy.
Large food companies in the United States have played a role in setting organic food standards, with many members of the standards-setting committee coming from large food companies. As more corporate members join, many non-organic substances have been added to the national list of acceptable ingredients. The U.S. Congress also played a role in allowing exceptions to organic food standards. In December 2005, the 2006 Agriculture Appropriations Act was passed, with additional provisions allowing 38 synthetic ingredients to be used in organic foods, including food colorings, starch, sausage and hot dog casings, hops, fish oil, jalapenos, and gelatin; this allowed Anheuser-Busch -Anheuser-Busch In 2007, its Wild Hop Lager received organic certification "even though it uses hops grown with chemical fertilizers and sprayed with pesticides.
"Agriculture Raisonnée'' (AR) or sustainable agriculture is the second (third) level of systematic approach to farm quality in France. It focuses on the overall management of the farm, taking into account environmental, social and economic aspects . Certifications recognized by French law include:
- Track the growth process by recording and tracking operations,
- protect environment. By minimizing and controlling chemical dosage and waste management,
- Maintain biodiversity and contribute to landscape conservation,
- animal welfare,
- Improve employee working conditions
"High Environmental Value" (HVE) corresponds to the highest level of farms and production sites in France that meet the highest environmental standards. Farm Environmental Certification is a voluntary certification method designed to identify and promote farmers' adoption of practices that are particularly environmentally friendly. HVE covers four key areas:
- biodiversity conservation,
- plant protection strategies,
- fertilizer use management,
- water management
The Demeter certificate is an international symbol of biodynamic agriculture. This mark is more stringent than the organic mark, and a farm must be organic to qualify as biodynamic. Biodynamic practice means that the entire system is most independent from external inputs and is sufficient in itself due to the complementarity of the products. To meet this standard, farms should be as diverse as possible.
One of the main features of biodynamic practices is respect for planetary and lunar rhythms in crop production.
The goals are:
- Increase soil biodiversity (use rotational farming and produce green fertilizer from livestock)
- Maintain and create a balanced landscape
- Protect ecosystems by maintaining the most natural environment
To be biodynamic, a farm must follow target specifications but also be regularly controlled by international certification bodies.
Protected Designation of Origin (PDO, AOP-AOC, IGP) Food Quality Labels
The protected designation of origin mark is a certification mark provided by the European Union and is used to "indicate products that are produced, processed and prepared in a designated geographical area, using techniques recognized by local producers and ingredients from the relevant area."
This label ensures that only food that is truly produced in a certain region can be sold in the name of this region, in order to protect the reputation of the food origin, eliminate unfair competition and prevent consumers from buying food that is not from the genuine region.
For example, only wine made in the Jerez region of Spain can be called Jerez-Xérès-Sherry (see picture).
Foods that are protected and can be labeled with the "Protected Designation of Origin" label include: olive oil, rice and beans, hazelnuts, traditional beverages, fresh meat, cured meats, cured meat products, spices, fruits, vegetables, honey, cheese , sugar, vinegar, wine, etc.
The official writing and abbreviation of "Protected Designation of Origin" in the 23 EU official languages (except Irish) can be based on the local national script. For example, Italian and French are denominazione d’origine protetta and appellation d’origine protégée respectively.
Quality labels on food guarantee the origin of the food. Some are recognized at European level, others only at national level.
Here are the differences between AOP, AOC, IGP, STG, Organic (AB) and Label Rouge labels.
L’appellation d’origine protégée (AOP) and et appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC)
A Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) guarantees that a product has been transformed and produced in a specific geographical area. The AOP label is a European mark. It protects product names throughout the European Union (EU).
The French version of AOP is AOC (appellation denomination of origin). It protects products within France. This is one step towards obtaining the European AOP label.
Please note that the AOC mark can no longer appear on products registered as AOP, with the exception of wine.
The AOP and AOC labels guarantee a strong connection between the product and its terroir.
🔆 In France, nearly 500 products are classified as AOP. We find in particular Camembert and Roquefort from Normandy, chestnuts from the Ardèche, walnuts from Grenoble, green lentils from Pouilly, olives from Nimes, etc.
For a complete list of French and European PDO products, you can consult the EU Register of Geographical Indications. Note that this scratchpad also lists IGP and STG (see below).
Geographical indication protection / L'indication géographique protégée (PGI)
A Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) is a European label designating a product whose characteristics are related to the geographical location where its production, development or transformation takes place.
IGP tags are a concept based on proprietary technology.
In France, this involves Bayonne ham, southwestern duck with foie gras, and more.
Guaranteed traditional specialties / La spécialité traditionnelle garantie（STG）
The Traditional Specialty Guarantee (TSG) label is a European label that allows protection of traditional recipes, i.e. ingredients, manufacturing or processing methods.
STG tags are based on traditional concepts.
Le Label Rouge
Label Rouge is a French national brand. It involves all attributes and characteristics of the product. Food as well as non-food agricultural products can receive a red label. To do this, they must comply with norms and be approved by inter-ministerial decrees.
The red label represents the concept of superior quality compared to other similar products.
Products that benefit from IGP or STG labels can also benefit from Label Rouge. However, the Label Rouge and AOC-AOP flags cannot be displayed at the same time.
La certification de conformité (France)
In France, Qualified certification guarantees compliance with the characteristics certified according to the specification (for example: pork fed with 70% grain).
These characteristics must be significant, objective and measurable and distinguish the product from the standard.
Approximately 280 certification specifications are approved for meat, poultry, rabbit, fruits and vegetables, grains, fish, honey, beverages, delicatessen products and more.