In recent years, the population's interest in environmentally friendly products has increased significantly, creating a new paradigm based on the promotion of a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, when buying various products, the question often arises: what is an eco, organic or bio product and what is the difference between these terms?
In fact, there is no difference. All of them relate to environmentally friendly products produced in accordance with the law, without the use of chemicals, without genetic modifications, grown in harmony with nature and the environment and certified by an authorized body. The are just called differently in various regions of the world:
Organic – is used for agro-food products in the US and Canada.
Bio or Eco means the same thing, but it is usually used in the Franco-German region and in most EU countries.
Ae (agricultură ecologică) - used in Romania as a mandatory term, starting July 1, 2010.
Eco-friendly products made in Moldova are sold under the label "Agricultura Ecologică-Republica Moldova". The symbol of this brand is a leaf on a white background, which shades vary from light to darker. Inside the leaf, the word "Eco" is written in green.
On the other hand, the term "natural" or "100% natural" on the product label is only a marketing strategy and does not guarantee the fact that this product is environmentally friendly. Legislation does not provide this labeling and the product with the inscription "natural" may well contain food additives, dyes and. etc. The same applies to the terms "traditional product" or "healthy product".
In this case, the question arises: which products and services can be environmentally certified?
- From legal point of view only agricultural products or products related to this sector can be certified: seeds, meat and meat products, processed foods, dairy products and cheese, wine, beer, juice, etc.
- From commercial point of view, there are certificates issued by private organizations for other product categories: cosmetics or textiles, as well as restaurants or catering establishments.
What are the main characteristics of eco or bio products?
- in organic agriculture, any synthetic substances (fertilizers and pesticides) are prohibited to be used;
- Organic crops, must be grown on land on which synthetic substances (pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers) weren’t used for at least two years (in some cases, three years);
- The land must have a protective zone to prevent the contact of plants and crops with prohibited substances that could be used on surrounding lands;
- environmentally friendly products can not be genetically modified, neither contain synthetic additives or colorants;
- use of growth hormones is excluded;
- organic products can not be irradiated;
- antibiotics are prohibited to be used in agriculture or in cattle breeding;
- cattle can not receive antibiotics or other drugs for preventive purposes, and if they become ill, their products no longer fall into the category of "bio".
It is important to understand that consumption of environmentally friendly products helps us to protect ourselves from toxins, among which the most harmful are pesticides (which are potentially carcinogenic), solvents (benzene or toluene) or harmful metals (cadmium, lead, mercury, etc.).