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October 2001 - Nr. 10


The Editor
Thing of the Past
Antje berichtet
Sascha Lutz berichtet
Film Fest Notes
Film Festival
Four Generations
200 Years Newmarket
Ability School
Lulatsch 75 Years
Bucky Balls
Eco-friendly Food
Paintings returned
Scholarship Fund
2. Brief aus Kanada
3. Brief aus Kanada
Siegfried & Roy
Illinois Greetings
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
Castles & Coziness
Spas in Germany
Gretzky & Neumann

Mark of Eco-Friendly Foods

  TWIG - The German government has launched a new program to promote environmentally sound farming methods--and to reassure consumers at the same time. Agricultural products that meet European Union standards for environmental protection will have the option of carrying a federally approved seal, a hexagon outlined in green and bearing the label "BIO." Minister of Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture Renate Kuenast (Greens) said the seal would send an "important message" in the wake of the livestock disease scandals that hit Europe last year.

The program is designed to help consumers identify eco-friendly foods at a glance and thus boost sales for growers who observe environmental principles. The program has the support of consumer organizations and the food products industry, both of which had a hand in its development. Foods carrying the seal must be free of genetically altered ingredients. Animal products must come from farms of a size sufficient to support livestock, and no antibiotics may be used in animal feed. Use of the seal is voluntary, and companies that misuse it will be subject to fines of up to 30,000 Euro (DM 58,750).

The BIO seal is part of a more general government effort to promote a shift away from mass production farming in Germany. The Federal Republic’s agricultural sector drew heavy criticism during the BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) crisis, in which herds of livestock across Europe were destroyed to prevent the spread of mad cow disease. Kuenast is pushing for widespread changes in the sector, with more government support going to environmentally responsible farms.

With the BIO seal program in place, Kuenast said she hopes to raise the portion of farms using ecological methods to 20 percent by 2010. At the end of 200, about 13,000 farms, covering 3.2 percent of Germany’s agricultural land, operated according to the ecological principles recommended by the EU. That figure represents a 22 percent increase since 1999. "Eco-agriculture is booming," says Kuenast.

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