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Old 22.09.2011, 14:28
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Re: What do you buy that is Bio / Organic?

Meat. Yogurt. Vegetables and Fruits.

Meat I get from a local farmer - mutton, but you all know THAT story hey?!
And because it`s expensive, we don`t eat much of it - like now, it`s finished - until the next sheep gets slaughtered.

I used to enjoy the Swiss Bratwurst ... until I saw on a video how a carcass is squeezed down in a big machine and out drips liquid meat for sausages......... ruined my sojourns to village fests!

Yogurt, bio only, because I`ve noticed that other (including fruity ones) go mouldy and rotten very quickly. Yogurt should not rot, should it? Unless my "bio" natural is not really yogurt! but it tastes nice, and makes me feel virtuous about my health.

Veges ... if its Swiss grown I trust it`s good enough.
Fruits .... only village grown seasonal stuff, mostly, because imported fruits have no flavour.

Now, I must go phone a local farmer lady to order eggs.......
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Old 22.09.2011, 14:32
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Re: What do you buy that is Bio / Organic?

I tend to treat bio as just another brand. If I can taste a difference I'm not against paying for it, but that's very much a product-by-product decision.

These days I regularly buy the following bio products:

Unflavored yogurt - I prefer the taste, plain and simple. Migros bio > Coop plain > Coop bio > Migros plain, in my estimation. I can't taste as much of a difference with flavored yogurt so I'm less particular.

Eggs - when I have to buy supermarket eggs I splurge on freerange. Honestly even those are a pale imitation though. Eggs from hens with a varied (read: insect-rich) diet are where it's at; these are almost exclusively laid by small barnyard flocks. Bio/non-bio is completely missing the point.

Veggies, sometimes. I'm more interested in quality and freshness, really. My local Migros doesn't restock everything every day, so the bio zucchini can sometimes be several days fresher than the non-bio. In that case (and depending what I want it for) I might buy it. On the other hand, plain cheapie non-bio tomatoes from Denner last week were the nearest thing to garden-fresh I have seen yet this year, and so I bought three kilos of them. It's down to logistics, I reckon, and which days of the week I shop.
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  #43  
Old 22.09.2011, 14:33
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Re: What do you buy that is Bio / Organic?

This is also how I shop but I normally always buy organic butter. We changed our shopping habbits after a member of my family became seriously ill but to be honest I stick to it simply because the food tastes better.

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I tend to choose organic over non-organic if it's locally sourced fruit and veg otherwise we try and get it from local farmers (But don't always succeed)

We always buy organic milk - again local if we can because it tastes better (I ought to do one of my blind tastings to see whether it really does).

(But then we don't normally get organic cheese or butter)

Meat is almost always organic or Natura-farm as it tastes better (IMO) and the animals get treated better (fact).

Last edited by Lou; 22.09.2011 at 14:53. Reason: typo
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Old 22.09.2011, 14:35
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Re: What do you buy that is Bio / Organic?

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..and just to mention one small point on toilet paper, and many other products for that matter, the preservatives can, for example, make your ass sore and really screw you up.
Preservatives (English language)? In toilet paper? Do you mean the bleaching process? What about all the newspaper ink in recycled paper, how do they get rid of that?
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Old 22.09.2011, 14:38
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Re: What do you buy that is Bio / Organic?

I also buy organic milk and eggs, hoping to avoid the medications and growth hormones.
When I think about the meat that I buy, it is also mainly the NaturaFarm from Coop, and also for the same reasons.

I try to buy mainly organic thin-skinned fruits, especially apples. Apples are the most treated fruit with pesticides and other junk. It seems to me that here in CH you can even feel all of that stuff on them. The apples often feel waxy or slimy, like they could just slip right out of your hand. Grapes, cucumbers and the like also fit into this category for me. But I don't mind buying non-Bio things such as pineapples or bananas. Mostly, I just try to use common sense, and not waste money on things that Bio is not essential for.

I also make my own yogourt because I LOATHE buying all of those plastic containers. I also avoid anything canned, when I can, because many of those tins now contain a plastic lining which leeches chemicals into the food. Then again, I also don't drink bottled water for the same reason, choosing instead to carry around a stainless steel water bottle. But that's a bit OT.
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  #46  
Old 22.09.2011, 14:39
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Re: What do you buy that is Bio / Organic?

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Just imagine you are a farmer, and after every harvest you need to replace the "goodness" you have just taken from your land. You could use cow manure or you could buy some fertilizer from Landi. You are also a business man and need to keep costs low as your salary here is only about CHF 6'000 per month.

Which action would you take
a. Buy lots of fertilizer for your crops and watch most of it wash away into the rivers.
b. Buy the minimum necessary and maximise your profits.
c. Buy manure and spread it, ensuring you can keep the Bio certification.

The results will be
a. Vegetables with traces of edible chemicals.
b. Vegetables with traces of edible chemicals.
c. Vegetables with traces of edible chemicals.

During the growing period you need to reduce white fly, carrot fly etc.
a. You use lots of insecticide spray, kill 'em all!
b. You use the minimum chemicals advised to maximise your profits.
c. You are not allowed any chemicals, maybe you plant marigolds and lavender.

When you harvest your crops
a. They are decent looking vegetables.
b. They are decent looking vegetables.
c. They are looking happy with half of them chewed up with bugs & worms.

My argument is the farmer is not going to use too many chemicals because it directly affects his income. He might go along with all the difficulties and obtain the Bio certification, but his yield will be poor and the image quality of the crops will be poor due to all the worm holes: he will have to raise the price to remain solvent.
You're assuming that no alternatives exist - just pesticides or no pesticides, fertilizer or manure. In fact, there are dozens of techniques and products that exist for sustainable agro-production, some a bit costly, some a bit more labor-intensive but all less hazardous to either your health or the environment. One example that comes to mind is in South Korea, rice farmers use snails as a natural pesticide. A bit of research into any organic business and you'll find that there are many 'conventional organic' practices that give a quality output with minimal inputs.


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All my Grandparents died before they reached 68 years of age. Both my parents are over 90 years old. So an enormous increase in life expectancy in just one generation, and I assure you my parents only ever shopped in London supermarkets - no Bio!
.
Non sequitur IMO. No one is arguing that consuming bio products will extend your life. And even if it proved not to have any health benefits whatsoever, this isn't the only (or even the primary) reason that people choose to buy it.

Your argument would have been much tighter without this example. A long life is determined by too many factors (improved medicine and facilities, fitness, disease, habits, etc etc), and your ideas are supported by quite a small sample size.
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  #47  
Old 22.09.2011, 14:41
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Re: What do you buy that is Bio / Organic?

Not sure if many people know about this, but there are two distinct labels for "close to nature" and "organic" in Switzerland.

One is the "IP-Suisse" meaning "integrated production"
http://www.ipsuisse.ch/ (sorry, only in German and French)
This is a kind of toned-down version of completely organic, but still with strict regulations and control mechanisms as to veggies and meat carrying this label

The other is "Bio-Suisse" which purports to be fully organic:
http://www.bio-suisse.ch/
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Old 22.09.2011, 14:43
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Re: What do you buy that is Bio / Organic?

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c. They are looking happy with half of them chewed up with bugs & worms.
yes, that's why they cost more. you're also paying for the ones that the farmer throws away.

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Do you realise that Bio reared animals go to the same slaughter houses as the working class animals? I believe it is here that conditions could be improved, especially for chickens and other poultry.
.
depends. Some bio farmers sell directly to butchers. Those animals never see the inside of an industrial slaughterhouse. Especially as far as smaller animals such as chickens, rabbits etc are concerned, many butchers are certifiied to slaughter on premises.
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  #49  
Old 22.09.2011, 14:45
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Re: What do you buy that is Bio / Organic?

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.

Non sequitur IMO. No one is arguing that consuming bio products will extend your life. And even if it proved not to have any health benefits whatsoever, this isn't the only (or even the primary) reason that people choose to buy it.

Your argument would have been much tighter without this example. A long life is determined by too many factors (improved medicine and facilities, fitness, disease, habits, etc etc), and your ideas are supported by quite a small sample size.
Actually, thats not correct. One of the major reasons that people buy organic is for health benefits, although its not ever claimed by retailers. The UK Food Standards Authority did a study on it recently (although cant link from here).

Its one of those odd reasons that people use to justify, with no basis in fact
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Old 22.09.2011, 14:49
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Re: What do you buy that is Bio / Organic?

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Actually, thats not correct. One of the major reasons that people buy organic is for health benefits, although its not ever claimed by retailers. The UK Food Standards Authority did a study on it recently (although cant link from here).
My main point was that it isn't the only reason, and not the primary reason for some people.

And I'd be interested to see that study because I would like to see if respondents were only allowed to choose one answer or several. It may be their top reason, but this doesn't mean that they don't support any others.

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Its one of those odd reasons that people use to justify, with no basis in fact
By this, are you saying that neither the production or consumption of organic food products do not provide health benefits? If not, then I don't understand...
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Old 22.09.2011, 14:49
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Re: What do you buy that is Bio / Organic?

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One of the main reasons why I am on the fence about it is really because I just can't imagine Swiss farmers mistreating their animals. I know, sounds naive.
Put it this way, if an animal is injured and has to be killed in emergency, the meat cannot legally be sold for human consumption, it becomes dog food.

Farmers have a commercial interest in ensuring their animals walk into the slaughter house, and government inspectors are there to make sure they do.

I am very much against moving live animals more than 50 km. I believe it is not necessary, and it is only done to maximise profits. New Zealand slaughters animals according to Muslim laws, and exports the chilled lamb in refrigerated transport to Arab countries, so it can be done. We don't need to send live animals on ten day journeys to African and middle east countries, just to satisfy the local religious beliefs, the animals can be slaughtered in Europe.
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Old 22.09.2011, 14:54
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Re: What do you buy that is Bio / Organic?

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We don't need to send live animals on ten day journeys to African and middle east countries, just to satisfy the local religious beliefs, it can be done in Europe.
Many countries outlaw ritual slaughter.

Although it is a bit hypocritical to ban it here because of ethical objections while exporting animals to places where it is allowed, and probably done less humanely than it would be here.
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Old 22.09.2011, 14:58
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Re: What do you buy that is Bio / Organic?

For example, I buy most of my meat here:

http://www.metzgerei-kratzer.ch/

It's handy for me, because it's on my way to work, I know that he buys top quality, locally sourced meat because I've ordered special cuts from him before and he tells me when I should order so that he can prepare it for me, so on and so forth.

This is the type of butcher where I have no hesitation whatsoever in buying almost anything and everything he has, because I know it's real food, not pre-packaged, processed, coloured, flavoured and E-numbered.

It's also surprisingly economical, because when I fry or roast what I've bought from him, it usually stays that size and shape and doesn't deteriorate in front of my eyes.
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Old 22.09.2011, 14:59
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Re: What do you buy that is Bio / Organic?

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My main point was that it isn't the only reason, and not the primary reason for some people.
And I'd be interested to see that study because I would like to see if respondents were only allowed to choose one answer or several. It may be their top reason, but this doesn't mean that they don't support any others.

By this, are you saying that neither the production or consumption of organic food products do not provide health benefits? If not, then I don't understand...
Sorry, my wording was clumsy. There is no evidence that organic food provided health benefits (study found) but my point was that although producers and retailers never claim direct health benefits, that is the reason many people buy it (i have seen some data from my business)

(to be clear, when i'm talking about health, i mean nutritional content of the products, not the wider points about chemicals. That was also potentially misleading)
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Old 22.09.2011, 15:21
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Re: What do you buy that is Bio / Organic?

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Sorry, my wording was clumsy. There is no evidence that organic food provided health benefits (study found) but my point was that although producers and retailers never claim direct health benefits, that is the reason many people buy it (i have seen some data from my business)

(to be clear, when i'm talking about health, i mean nutritional content of the products, not the wider points about chemicals. That was also potentially misleading)
Interesting review of reviews. A bit generalized, dismissive and outdated, but interesting. The largest criticism I have found is this:

The researchers dismissed the following findings in their study as irrelevant based on the shoddy reports they came from:

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NUTRIENTS > % HIGHER IN ORGANIC FOODS

Protein > 12.7%
Beta-carotene > 53.6%
Flavonoids > 38.4%
Copper > 8.3%
Magnesium > 7.1%
Phosphorous > 6%
Potassium > 2.5%
Sodium > 8.7%
Sulphur > 10.5%
Zinc > 11.3%
Phenolic compounds > 13.2%
Quite convenient to leave these out of their study, despite the obvious health benefits.

The conclusion of the report seems to state it best: "It should be noted that these conclusions relate to the evidence base currently available, which contains limitations in the design and in the comparability of studies… Examination of this scattered evidence indicates a need for further high-quality research in this field."
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Old 22.09.2011, 15:26
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Re: What do you buy that is Bio / Organic?

We don't buy bio because it tastes better or whatever. We don't buy it because it may or may not be GM food. We buy it because it stands for less chemical polution/other intrusion into the environment.

We don't particularly have any issues with non-bio food from any "health" perspective (edit: saw your following posts about idiots who buy it for health reasons ), it is just that as a race we leave a large footprint and chemicals that are used in the fields end up in the river and pollute the enviroment.

We've been working hard to reduce our own footprint as a family. On the food front, we buy local and bio as a priority, that is, if we can't grow it ourselves.

Importantly, we can afford bio food now, when it isn't cheap. But at some point, you've got to put your money where your mouth is. All change starts with a small step. If we can do it now, then hopefully a few more will join "us", so that the few become many, and eventually few will become most. Then maybe in a few years it'll become cheap enough for a majority and it'll become the standard way of doing things.
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Old 22.09.2011, 15:30
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Re: What do you buy that is Bio / Organic?

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We don't buy bio because it tastes better or whatever. We don't buy it because it may or may not be GM food. We buy it because it stands for less chemical polution/other intrusion into the environment.

We don't particularly have any issues with non-bio food from that "health" perspective, it is just that as a race we do leave a large footprint. We buy local and bio as a priority, if we can't grow it ourselves.

Importantly, we can afford it now, when it isn't cheap. But at some point, you've got to put your money where your mouth is. All change starts with a small step. If we can do it now, then a few more so that that few become many then most, then maybe in a few years it'll become cheap for all and the standard way of doing things.
Good post and genuinely interested in your view...this isnt meant to be argumentative...

What do you say to those who say that because organic food yields significantly less that conventional agriculture, that we owe it to the world's poor to use all of our technology and skill to maximise the limited land we have to produce the most food?
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Old 22.09.2011, 15:32
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Re: What do you buy that is Bio / Organic?

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Preservatives (English language)? In toilet paper? Do you mean the bleaching process? What about all the newspaper ink in recycled paper, how do they get rid of that?
http://www.mst.dk/NR/rdonlyres/BF6D8...23744/0/34.pdf
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Old 22.09.2011, 15:43
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Re: What do you buy that is Bio / Organic?

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Good post and genuinely interested in your view...this isnt meant to be argumentative...

What do you say to those who say that because organic food yields significantly less that conventional agriculture, that we owe it to the world's poor to use all of our technology and skill to maximise the limited land we have to produce the most food?
Not sure if this was supposed to be directed at me or Carlos, but I'll say what I have to say regardless

First, I'd argue that limits to access are more of a problem for the world's poor than limits to production. Land and labor are not dangerously scarce (although it is an exponential concern with population growth) at the moment. There are enough resources to feed the planet today. Did you know that approx. 50% of all food is wasted? Having worked in a number of restaurants and witnessed a number of despicable household habits, I'm not that surprised. The real problem is that food is not distributed fairly due to corruption, poor governance and poverty.

Second, I think technological innovation is absolutely something that is necessary if the goal is to maximize productivity. Yet why can't we put our efforts and resources into increasing the productive capacity of organic methods instead of conventional ones?
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Old 22.09.2011, 15:44
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Re: What do you buy that is Bio / Organic?

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Good post and genuinely interested in your view...this isnt meant to be argumentative...
Sorry, I've edited/added to my post, but points remain the same.

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What do you say to those who say that because organic food yields significantly less that conventional agriculture, that we owe it to the world's poor to use all of our technology and skill to maximise the limited land we have to produce the most food?
I say I couldn't agree more.

I've studied human nutrition (MSc), so know that at some point in the near future our capacity to produce food will be outweighed by demand.

But what do I say more specifically?

Technology does not necessarily mean more chemicals & more pesticides. It doesn't mean worse impact on the environment. I am not anti-GM at all. I'm not particularly anti-chemicals per se from a food point of view - it is from the larger environmental impact I am thinking of.

We've a very modest vegetable plot in our garden. Yet we dumped a load of veggies in the ground and I was bringing in enough surplus to give stuff away to neighbours and colleagues. Sure it wouldn't be enough to feed the 5000, but it does supplement & reduce our purchases.

And this was from a very laissez faire attitude to gardening.

In terms of cherry tomatoes, for example, we had 5 plants randomly spread around the garden up fences in "normal" flower beds (rather than in a veg plot) and we must have produced in excess of 30 kg over the "season".

1) think of the money we saved when you consider how much a 250 g punnet costs
2) no environmental impact (100% bio)
3) no transportation
4) it was great mowing the lawn and munching on them straight off the plant (but that's just a personal thing )

My uncle and aunt are now (that they are retired) heavily involved in small micro charities in Africa. He was telling about how new uses are being developed for existing materials that are already grown in Africa - e.g. a plant that produces a crop that can be used as bio-fuel - it's been under their noses for millennia. Sorry, can't remember the details. That sort of technology is there for development - doesn't mean more polution, more chemicals.
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