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What is this thing called organic? - How organic farming is codified in regulations

Seufert, Verena; Ramankutty, Navin; Mayerhofer, Tabea


Organic farming is one of the fastest growing sectors of world agriculture. Although it represents only 1% of world agricultural area, organic is one of the most recognized food labels and most people in developed countries consume some amount of organic food today. There is a wide range of interpretations of what organic means by different actors in the sector. Here we examine eight different organic regulations from across the world to understand how they have codified the large diversity of ideas inherent in organic agriculture. Our analysis shows that organic practices and regulations do not differ substantially between countries – across the board organic regulations define organic mainly in terms of ’natural’ vs. ’artificial’ substances that are allowed (or not) as inputs. This interpretation of organic as ‘‘chemical-free” farming, largely void of broader environmental principles, does not fully incorporate the original ideas of organic theoreticians who conceived it as a holistic farming system aimed primarily at improving soil health, thereby leading to improved animal, human, and societal health. This narrow focus of organic regulations can be explained by the interest of organic consumers who predominantly buy organic because they believe it is healthier and more nutritious due to the absence of harmful substances. ... mehr

DOI: 10.1016/j.foodpol.2016.12.009
Zitationen: 139
Web of Science
Zitationen: 119
Zitationen: 145
Zugehörige Institution(en) am KIT Institut für Meteorologie und Klimaforschung – Atmosphärische Umweltforschung (IMK-IFU)
KIT-Zentrum Klima und Umwelt (ZKU)
Publikationstyp Zeitschriftenaufsatz
Publikationsmonat/-jahr 04.2017
Sprache Englisch
Identifikator ISSN: 0306-9192, 1873-5657
KITopen-ID: 1000080707
Erschienen in Food policy
Verlag Elsevier
Band 68
Seiten 10-20
Vorab online veröffentlicht am 07.01.2017
Nachgewiesen in Dimensions
Web of Science
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