- Natural vs. Ecological (bio)
The terms used to identify a certified bio product are:bio, ecological or organic. The majority of the population confuses or assimilates the term of bio/ ecological/ organic with natural product.
There are no regulatory laws in Europe that define natural products and which to regulate the way they are produced or what they can or can not contain.
Natural product means it was made from natural ingredients. However, although the ingredients used are natural, they may contain chemicals that will also be found in the finished product. Also, natural products usually contain preservatives in order to make the product last for a longer time.
The natural term applied to a product’s label is just a marketing strategy that does not necessarily guarantee the quality of a product.
Compared with the natural ones, the production of bio products is subject to some very strict rules. Any bio/ ecological/ organic product must have a certificate of conformity that clearly shows that the product is bio certified.
Ecological certification applies to all economic operators in the food chain – processor – trader and guarantees the quality of the product.
- Benefits for health
One of the main benefits of bio products is the low level of pesticide residues. Chemicals, such as fungicides, herbicides and insecticides, are widely used in conventional agriculture, and their residues remain on (and in) the food we eat. The ecological farms do not use chemically synthesized pesticides, they only use naturally derived pesticides. Therefore, the exposure to harmful pesticides will be lower when bio food is consumed.
Some studies have shown that the use of pesticides even at low doses may increase the risk of certain cancers, such as leukemia, brain tumors, breast cancer and prostate cancer.
Children are the most vulnerable to exposure to pesticides because their immune system, body and brain are still developing. Exposure at an early age can cause developmental delays, behavioral disorders, autism, impaired immune system and motor dysfunction. In addition, pesticides can also be transmitted from mother to child through the uterus, as well as through breast milk.
Bio food products do not contain GMOs or GMO-derived products. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are plants whose DNA has been modified to be resistant to pesticides or to produce an insecticide.
Animals raised in the bioagriculture system are not given antibiotics and growth hormones, they have more space to move and access to the open air, which helps them to stay healthy.
Those who have eaten bio food attest the fact that they taste much better than conventional ones.
- Nutritional benefits
Bio products, compared to conventional products, contain a higher level of nutrients, such as vitamins, enzymes, minerals, trace elements. In 2001, a study published in the Journal of Complementary Medicine revealed that bio cultures contain higher levels for 21 essential nutrients towards their conventional counterparts, including iron, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin C.
Some studies show that bio products can have more antioxidants than conventional ones. A study in 2012 found a higher level of antioxidants, including vitamin C, in ecological broccoli compared to conventional ones.
Meat and organic milk are richer in certain nutrients, according to an European study from 2016 showing that levels of certain nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, were up to 50% higher in organic meat and milk than in conventional versions.
- Positive impact on soil
The practice of bio agriculture increases the fertility and soil quality by applying organic fertilizers and composts, helping the development of beneficial microorganisms for soil. Organic matter improves the structure of the soil and its ability to retain water.
Due to the fact that organic fertilizers do not use chemical fertilizers and pesticides, soil erosion is reduced. Problems caused by erosion are extremely serious, affecting the land, food supply and people.
A study of two adjoining wheat farms in the US found that over a period of 37 years the conventional farm lost more than 8 centimeters of soil, while the organic farm lost only 2 centimeters. Scientists have concluded that the productivity of the organic farm has been maintained, and that of the conventional farm has been reduced due to high soil erosion rates.
Bio agriculture supports the conservation and quality of water. Decreasing water supply and poor quality of water are real threats. When water supplies are in danger, people and the planet get to suffer.
Water and river pollution is caused by leakage of pesticides, fertilizers and animal waste from non-organic farms. Bio agriculture helps maintain our clean water resources by reducing the polluting emissions.
Bio agriculture creates a sustainable lifestyle for future generations.
- Positive impact on the environment
Bio products production helps reduce global warming because it consumes less energy. Swiss researchers have shown that the same amount of food can be produced in bio agriculture with 19% less energy as input directly or indirectly compared to the conventional farming system.
Bio agriculture reduces greenhouse gas emissions (CO2, methane and nitrogen oxides). Numerous studies have shown that the emission of CO2 in an ecological system is 40-60% lower at the level of one hectare than in a conventional bio agriculture.
- Positive impact on biodiversity
Intensifying and expanding modern agriculture is one of the greatest threats to global biodiversity today. Dramatic decreases have occurred in recent years both in the range and in the abundance of many species associated with agricultural land, which has led to growing concerns about the sustainability of intensive agriculture practices.
“Sustainable” agriculture systems such as bio agriculture, are now considered by many to be a possible solution to this continuous loss of biodiversity and receive substantial support as subsidy payments through Community and national government legislation.
- Bio products have antioxidant properties
Antioxidants are very important for our health, because stimulate the immunity and protect cells from attack by free radicals. Antioxidants are naturally present in fruits and vegetables.
It has been scientifically proven that bio products, compared to conventional ones, contain higher amounts of antioxidants. Consuming bio products containing antioxidants can prevent cancer cells, heart disease or other consequences of aging.
- Bio products are tastier
Deoarecealimenteleecologice nu sunt tratate cu diverse substanțechimicepentru a rezistamaimult, gustulloreste superior alimentelorconventionale. Legumeleșifructele au gustulși aroma specificecelorcrescute la țară de buniciinoștri, înarmonie cu natura.
- Eco-responsible attitude
Super intensive agriculture and excessive consumption continue to deteriorate the natural resources, which is why it is imperative to switch to bio agriculture.
Responsible consumption means choosing bio products instead of conventional ones. More and more people get aware of the role of bio agriculture and bio products in protecting natural resources and the planet.
10.Bio agriculture –an opportunity for farmers
Agricultura ecologică poate contribui la promovarea unei economii rurale viabile prin creşterea activităţilor economice care au valoare adăugată mare şi care să crească gradul de atractivitate al mediului rural din punctul de vedere al forţei de muncă.
S-a constatat că prin trecerea la agricultura ecologică fermierul își poate reduce efectivcostul de producție cu peste 25% în comparație cu costul din agricultura convenționala.
Achiziționarea de produse alimentare de la agricultorii ecologici reprezintă o investiție sigură. Metodele convenționale de agricultură s-au bucurat de mari subvenții și reduceri de impozite de la majoritatea guvernelor în ultimii ani. Acest lucru a dus la proliferarea alimentelor produse comercial care au crescut bolile periculoase, cum ar fi cancerul. Este timpul ca guvernele să investească în tehnologii de agricultură ecologică pentru a atenua aceste probleme și a asigura viitorul. Totul începe cu cumpărarea de produse alimentare din surse de incredere.