At the end of the 80s, the biggest part of the organic milk disappeared into the tanks of the dairy associations in Germany. Paul Söbbeke remembers: “At that time, organic farmers used to ask me if we didn’t want to process their milk into organic produce”. After lengthy considerations and talks with the family, which has been involved in the dairy industry since the beginning of the turn of the century, he decided to found Bio-Molkerei Söbbeke.
“We started with three dairy farmers and manually bottled the milk into pickle jars at the time.”
At the beginning 300,000 litres of milk were processed per year - today, it’s 50 million litres from about 160 organic farms. All farms are associated with the farming associations Bioland (largest organic food association in Germany), Demeter association (largest certification organisation for biodynamic agriculture) or the Naturland (one of the world’s foremost organisation for the promotion of organic agriculture). Every dairy farmer is aware of their responsibility and runs their farm with the utmost commitance. Here, occupation becomes vocation as milk is one of the most valuable foods and therefore, requires a very special handling.
Milk quality starts at the farm. Our farmers know that and give their best every day as the first link of the process chain in order to provide the consumer with tasty and healthy organic dairy produce.
The EU Bio Logo is a certification for organic products in Europe. With this certification European Union provides organic farming standards, inspection requirements and also methods and procedures that must be followed by all the production chain, including processing, distribution and retailing.
According to EU Bio Logo website organic farming is a way of producing food that respects natural life cycles, minimizing the human impact on the environment and operating as naturally as possible. Here are some of the rules that must be followed to guarantee the identification as an organic farming:
·The crops are rotated, resulting in an efficiently use of the resources
·Chemical pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, antibiotics and other substances are restricted
·Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are banned
·Livestock are raised in a free-range, open air environment and are fed on organic fodder
·Animal husbandry practices are tailored to the various livestock species
The animal welfare must be taking into account, which refers to: the feed given, which must enhance their health and wellbeing; living conditions, where the number of animals kept in one place must be appropriate in order to guarantee their comfort, the access to natural air and light must be permitted; freedom of pain, when any suffering must be kept into minimum throughout the animal’s life and in case of animal’s transportation their welfare must be ensured and the journeys kept as short as possible.
To have this certification, organic farmers, processors and traders must comply with the EU Bio Logo requirements, which are controlled with a system that checks all the stages of the organic chain: farmers, processors, traders, importers and exporters at least once a year.
This control within the entire process ensures that whenever the consumer buys an organic product, it has been produced in accordance to the environmental and animal welfare rules established.
For more information: EU _Biosiegel
Naturland is an international association that promotes organic agriculture all over the world, attributing the same importance to issues of social responsibility as to organic expertise. In this association farmers and processors work with high organic standards, producing high-quality foodstuff without recourse of genetic engineering. The high-quality and high standards followed in Naturland are ensured by the accreditation of IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements).
The core of Naturland’s standards is the holistic approach, sustainable management, nature conservation and climate protection, in order to preserve and maintain the soil, air and water, as long as consumer protection. With this holistic way of looking at things, the processing standards have to be complied with from production to the sale, through a logical sequel of procedures.
The standards of Naturland are more embracing and strict than the ones of EU Bio Logo, for example, in Naturland the traceability through every commercial stage back to the farm is guaranteed but in EU Bio Logo it’s not compulsory. Another example which illustrate that the standards in Naturland are more strict, can be seen in the possibility of grow organic side by side with conventional produce using genetically modified plants permitted by EU Bio Logo, fact that is prohibited by Naturland.
For more information: www.naturland.de
Bioland is an association for organic farming in Germany that involves farmers, manufacturing and trading, resulting in a community of values for the benefit of people and the environment. The objective of the association is to reach a sustainable high-quality production and healthy food, harmonizing business with nature, which leads to the promotion of biodiversity, protection of climate and environment, insurance of livelihoods and diverse cultural landscape.
Through value-added organic food holistically Bioland deals with issues such as adequate supply of healthy, genetic modified free food and animal welfare.
The principles followed by Bioland to aim sustainable organic farming are:
·Rotation of culture: to guarantee the return of nutrients in the form of manure and compost
·Promote soil fertility: in a natural way to secure future cultures
·Animal welfare: "quality not quantity" refers to the respect of feeling and needs of the animals
·Produce valuable food: with natural ingredients and without pesticides or genetically modified organisms
·Promote biodiversity: as a prerequisite for future viability.
·Conserve natural foundations of life: deal gently and sustainably with natural resources
·People secure a better future: enable people to engage a meaningful agriculture and ensure operational independence.
For more information: www.bioland.de
Demeter stands for products of biodynamic farming, developing modern and sustainable cultivation, with the objective of warrant biodynamic quality to consumers and guarantee suitable processing.
This different way of vision is based on an anthroposophic and scientific relationship between man and nature, where the earth is seen as a living organism with spiritual origin. Medicinal plants, pebbles and cow dung are used to produce biodynamic preparations that are applied to soils and plants, and as consequence the food produced is more suitable to nourish body, soul and spirit of man.
The biodynamic method ensures the harmonious development of life forces in plants, through skillful technical processing and non uses of harmful additives. Besides, only 22 absolutely necessary additives (that are pre checked and measured according to quality standards) are allowed. Here are some specific actions in dairy production on Demeter:
· Cows are not dehorned
· Initiatives in animal breeding
· Gentle, value-preserving processing in dairies
· No homogenization of milk, because of the high pressure adversely effect on the milk quality.
The organic products with Demeter seal differ from the ones with EU Bio Logo, considering that the state organic seal is only the minimum required. Therefore Demeter farmers and manufacturers have more considerably methods required to achieve biodynamic farming, considering that further on the annual EU Bio Logo checks, they have also Demeter compliance. Another example about the difference between the two types of certification refers to the fact that for EU Bio Logo 95% of the ingredients must be from organic origin, so that the "organic logo" can performed, although for Demeter besides this, 90% of the ingredients must be from Demeter production.
For more information: www.demeter.de