Organic farming and labelling of organic food
Organic farming, or ecological farming, is an environmentally sustainable farming practice used in the area of foodstuffs and feedstuffs. It is based on a balanced circulation of material.
The requirements of organic farming apply in the primary production of plant and animal products, and in using those products in further production, as well as in catering and marketing.
This type of farming practice ensures clean food and water, and maintains biodiversity because:
- no synthetic mineral fertilisers or chemical plant protection products are used in organic plant production; the soil is kept fertile with organic fertilisers and the production of leguminous crops; the spread of pests is stopped by ensuring biodiversity in the production environment, with mechanical means, and by using natural plant protection products;
- the use of antibiotics for the prevention of illnesses is forbidden in organic livestock farming; to ensure the welfare of animals, they must have the opportunity to be outside, eat organic feedstuffs, and satisfy all of their intrinsic needs;
- in producing organic food, the food is kept as natural as possible and only a limited amount of approved natural food additives are used; synthetic flavouring is not used in the processing of organic food;
- genetically modified organisms (GMO) or the products prepared by using them are forbidden in organic farming.
Organic farming enterprises must be recognised pursuant to the Organic Farming Act. To gain recognition, an application in due form must be submitted to the Agricultural Board (primary production of agricultural produce) or to the Veterinary and Food Board (processing, marketing). A person wishing to operate in the production of organic food in a catering establishment and in launching it on the market must submit a notification statement to the Veterinary and Food Board.
Marketed organic products are labelled with the EU organic logo, base product origin marking, and a code of the inspection authority (obligatory for pre-packaged organic products). In addition, the Estonian ecolabel may also be used, but it is not mandatory.
The label ensures the consumer that the product was created in accordance with the requirements of the Organic Farming Act.
Contact information of organic producers is available in the register of organic farming.
A list of stores selling organic food is available on the website Maheklubi.