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Old 14.01.2012, 09:55
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Bio- don't fall for it.

Yesterday I decided to have fish for lunch. I walked down to the Migros to buy some fenchel to go with it. There was some very nice fenchel at Fr.3.30 per Kilo. Then I stopped dead in my tracks, there was also bio-fenchel at Fr.6.80 per Kilo!! That's what this is about - this bio fraud. Not only here but everywhere and with everything. That some, seldom products can be classed as bio is clear - but fenchel - don't make me laugh.

My hobby for the past 41 years has been vegetable gardening - so one can assume that I know what I'm talking about. I grow fenchel along with many other vegetables in my garden using ground which is mainly fed with compost of my own and occassionally every few years a light coating of fertiliser. All I do to get fenchel is to draw the edge of the rake along the topsoil to create furrows into which I drop the fenchel seeds then wait. The only work I have is to do is to thin out the seedlings so that those fenchel which remain have space to grow - and that's it. They require no spraying, no chemicals and no fertiliser. Now, it's the same simple procedure with carrots, turnips, beetroots, beans and peas. Not to mention lettuce and onions. In fact carrots need unfertilised ground to be healthy.

When you buy baby carrots or baby beets they are simply those plants which have been growing between those left to get bigger. In fact bio-gardening is much easier that non-bio-gardening where crops have to sometimes be sprayed more than once and then dusted before being put into storage. (The only crops I have ever sprayed have been cabbages, brussels, apples, pears, plums and gooseberries). Even potatoes are no longer in great danger due to new sorts. That things can go wrong during some years is obvious but most vegetables and some fruit have been so well developed that they are resistant to most diseases today. You also get these sorts when you buy 'bio'.

Don't fall for it - we are being taken for a ride.
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Old 14.01.2012, 10:11
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Re: Bio- don't fall for it.

Out of curiosity, what do you make with fenchel? I'm off to go look up what it looks like, but am keen to know how you use it or any recipes you enjoy.
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Old 14.01.2012, 10:18
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Re: Bio- don't fall for it.

I'm sure you do know what you are talking about.....but you seemed to hide your light under a bushel with this post

1. It was shown at Fr 6 / kg and that is what you were charged (or rather, would have been charged)

2. It was labelled as Bio as presumably was

3. There were none Bio alternatives which presumably AREN'T Bio, or else the shop would sell them at the higher price.

So it was shown as what it was....where is the fraud? You may not think that the price of a Bentley is worth paying over a SEAT - fair enough. But it isn't fraud.

But, saying - I grow my fennel in a low intensity and chemically minimized way is irrelevant. Most fennel in the world comes from India, Mexico, China, Iraq and Bulgaria - none of which are known as countries who will skimp on a chemical to get higher yields. Nitrates are heavily applied to fennel to increase cropping, and also these crops can be grown in rotation on land which has had fairly invasive chemical treatment applied eg nematicides for potatoes and carrots, which will remain present in residue for non-Bio crops.

I am no apologist for Bio - I don't buy bio veg because I don't regard the compromise as worth it. Whilst the world is starving, it seems immoral to NOT use all technology at our disposal to maximise the amount of food we grow. But your post is a little extreme and comparing how you grow something to how the agricultural world grows it is naive and inaccurate

Last edited by Caviarchips; 14.01.2012 at 11:35.
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Old 14.01.2012, 10:18
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Re: Bio- don't fall for it.

Now I feel like an idiot. Fennel.

Still interested in your recipes though!
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Old 14.01.2012, 10:19
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Re: Bio- don't fall for it.

Absolutely agree the retailers have found latest fad and excuse for increasing their prices on the suggestion they are actually more expensive to grow.

I regularly grow carrots and prett much throw seeds in the ground and provided i keep the eleephant size swiss slugs away I have no problems still digging last seasons out of the ground now.
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Old 14.01.2012, 10:22
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Re: Bio- don't fall for it.

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Now I feel like an idiot. Fennel.

Still interested in your recipes though!
Here's my best use for fennel.

Separate the large green bulb from the delicate upper leaves using a strong knife. Carefully wash both halves.

Put both halves in the bin.

Then use potatoes and dill with your fish.

(I don't like fennel )
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Old 14.01.2012, 10:25
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Re: Bio- don't fall for it.

There was a brilliant Penn and Teller episode of Bullshit about Bio food.

They put a normal banana on a 'Bio' market stand and cut it half. They labelled one half Bio and one half Not Bio (implying they were halves from 2 different bananas). Then they filmed simpletons eating both halves and gushing how much better the "Bio" banana was compared the 'bland' non-bio.
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Old 14.01.2012, 10:25
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Re: Bio- don't fall for it.

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Absolutely agree the retailers have found latest fad and excuse for increasing their prices on the suggestion they are actually more expensive to grow.

I regularly grow carrots and prett much throw seeds in the ground and provided i keep the eleephant size swiss slugs away I have no problems still digging last seasons out of the ground now.
They ARE more expensive to grow, yields per hectare are lower so costs are higher. But that's not why retailers charge more. Once again - the common EF fallacy - the price of something and the cost of something are NOT related. Ever. The price of something is what the market will pay.

Anyway - again - comparing your garden growing to the industrial production of crops is like comparing my 20 minute descent of the Lauberhornrennen route to the 2 1/2 minute descent of the winner of today's race. It gives the same end result, but achieved in a VERY different way

@ Ipoddle - that is true of course, but that is an experiment in branding, not in Bio. People will tell you that they prefer Coke to glass "x" if it is labelled as such even if they are the same thing. Its what makes brands so successful.
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Old 14.01.2012, 10:49
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Re: Bio- don't fall for it.

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@ Ipoddle - that is true of course, but that is an experiment in branding, not in Bio. People will tell you that they prefer Coke to glass "x" if it is labelled as such even if they are the same thing. Its what makes brands so successful.
Very true... doesn't make it any less valid to say 'Bio' foods are often indistinguishable from non-bio.. but usually cost a lot more.
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Old 14.01.2012, 11:14
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Re: Bio- don't fall for it.

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Very true... doesn't make it any less valid to say 'Bio' foods are often indistinguishable from non-bio.. but usually cost a lot more.
Taste alone isn't always the reason people by bio/organic products...
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Old 14.01.2012, 11:23
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Re: Bio- don't fall for it.

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Very true... doesn't make it any less valid to say 'Bio' foods are often indistinguishable from non-bio.. but usually cost a lot more.
Well maybe.....but I am a massive fan of Penn and Teller, but they build their act on misdirection and they do the same here. Somebody (sagitta, musicchick, don't remember) posted recently here on Logical Fallacy and this is one

First - test a hypothesis that hasn't been made. I don't think bio or organic food has ever been sold on taste. Its sold on either environmental or health benefits (neither of which I buy into by the way). To test the taste of a bio and non-bio banana is like testing the smell of Armani and Migros jeans. Exactly the same, but not really the point.

Second - Use a normal human trait to tip the balance - "suggestibility" - the branding behaviour we talked about before.

So they produce a smart looking and memorable clip which shows "idiots" saying that bio bananas taste better which i) we probably would have fallen for too coz that's what they are good at doing and ii) isn't really the point
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Old 14.01.2012, 11:31
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Re: Bio- don't fall for it.

I'm sure a large part of the cost is not in the growing but in the legalities. it is probably very costly to get permission to use the label 'bio' and to maintain that status.
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Old 14.01.2012, 11:45
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Re: Bio- don't fall for it.

People usually buy local for taste because it is picked when it is ripe. Food from far away is picked still unrip so it doesn't go bad by the time it gets to where ever.

Bio is something else. It's about the way the product is grown, without chemicals, etc. Fertilizer can be used (I think) if they are also bio.

There is of course bio foods which are also local as well as bio that has been shipped from across the world. That to me just defeats the purpose.

I find it's quite complicated all of this. You just never know how things are being grown unless you've been to the farm.

Personally, I choose local first and I avoid anything that has been shipped farther than Europe, the closer the better. (Except every once in a blue moon, say once a year, I like to have those mini bananas and passion fruit.)
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Old 14.01.2012, 12:04
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Re: Bio- don't fall for it.

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There was some very nice fenchel at Fr.3.30 per Kilo. Then I stopped dead in my tracks, there was also bio-fenchel at Fr.6.80 per Kilo!! That's what this is about - this bio fraud.
(It would seem some chaps have missed reading these 3 sentances)

I agree with you 100% I am sure the farmer sells his Bio products a bit more expensively, and the wholesaler wacks on another 100% because he can get away with it.

Some points spring to my mind, I would assume that both the Fennels were raised in Switzerland, and hence both had the same overheads, the only difference would be that maybe some of the Bio fennel were of poor quality and could not be sold. If some of the fennel were grown abroad, they would be more expensive due to the transport and import costs.

Interestingly Aldi and Lidl also sell Bio products, and much cheaper than Coop or Migros.

Swiss consumers usually equate higher prices = better products. There have been studies recently published which state that Bio products are not any healthier, but to some people they do taste better.

Consumers of Bio meat are convinced the animals live in better conditions. My argument there is that New Zealand lamb is always free range and Bio, yet it still sells here for about half the price of Swiss lamb. My motto is always "Why pay more?"
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Old 14.01.2012, 13:06
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Re: Bio- don't fall for it.

Is the "bio" label use regulated in switzerland? To use "organic"in the u.s. the producer is required to comply with fairly strict requirements. If so, i am willing to pay the difference. Refer to recent fungicide in oj issue in u.s....
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Old 14.01.2012, 13:15
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Re: Bio- don't fall for it.

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Out of curiosity, what do you make with fenchel?
1) Salad. Thinly sliced (I use my meat slicer), 1/2 mm is great, with equal part onion, olive oil and lemon dressing, some rocket and parmagiana.

2) In cream. Pre-cook (steam or microwave), then cover with heavy cream and parmagiana, bake until browned.

Tom
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Old 14.01.2012, 13:23
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Re: Bio- don't fall for it.

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Is the "bio" label use regulated in switzerland? To use "organic"in the u.s. the producer is required to comply with fairly strict requirements. If so, i am willing to pay the difference. Refer to recent fungicide in oj issue in u.s....
Yes -- see this FAQ at the Bio Suisse website.

Something I have been meaning to investigate for ages is the difference between Bio and non-Bio Swiss animal products (meat, dairy, eggs). I can read about the Bio rules at the Bio-Suisse website but I also need to know more about both regulations and practices on Swiss farms. I have a vague idea that Swiss farming practices are a bit cleaner and less cruel on average than in some other countries but I don't have any specific evidence to support that (except my impressions of hiking across Swiss cowfields and comparing to my experiences visiting family farms in Australia and what you read in the press about factory farming in the US).
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Old 14.01.2012, 13:55
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Re: Bio- don't fall for it.

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Interestingly Aldi and Lidl also sell Bio products, and much cheaper than Coop or Migros.
People should note that some of these 'bio' products are coming from China where standards, irrigation and monitoring are very different from what many think/expect. So just beware.
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Old 14.01.2012, 14:27
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Re: Bio- don't fall for it.

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have a vague idea that Swiss farming practices are a bit cleaner and less cruel on average than in some other countries but I don't have any specific evidence to support that (except my impressions of hiking across Swiss cowfields and comparing to my experiences visiting family farms in Australia and what you read in the press about factory farming in the US).
You're absolutely right. Just for example, Turkey. Turkeys raised in Switzerland are required to have access to the outside, they're required to have more space per bird, debeaking is illegal, as is giving an entire crop of birds preemptive antibiotics instead if separately holding and treating Swiss birds. And I'm not comparing Switzerland to Brazil or somewhere, but to Germany. Unfortunately even Swiss retailers are carrying less and less Swiss turkey because it's just so much cheaper to buy from Germany. There's much more to consider than just "Why pay more?" but to each his own.
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Old 14.01.2012, 15:31
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Re: Bio- don't fall for it.

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You're absolutely right. Just for example, Turkey. Turkeys raised in Switzerland are required to have access to the outside, they're required to have more space per bird, debeaking is illegal, as is giving an entire crop of birds preemptive antibiotics instead if separately holding and treating Swiss birds.
Thanks for the info -- any idea where I could read about these requirements online?
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