90 No other area in agriculture is as tightly monitored as organic produc tion And yet residues are still turning up in organic products They go by the names of chlorpyrifos anthraquinone or pyrrolizidine alkaloids These are microscale readings which when detected unleash an almighty boom in the media organic con and poison in organic tea are some headlines that come to mind and these are the polite ones plunging newspaper readers into a state of panicked excitement But why do consumers allow themselves to be so unsettled by such far fetched albeit typically hysterical reporting Because they have a very vague and naive notion of what modern organic farming entails And even if the organic sector bears no responsibility for this it has at the very least failed to set the record straight Organic produce doesn t grow and flourish under glass cover but rath er in open cultivated landscapes in which for example herbicides are carried for kilometres by air Although organic farmers follow the rules to the letter and do not use herbicides they cannot rule out their prod ucts testing positive for up to one hundredth of a milligram of chemicals There may also be traces of residue from the last Easter fire anthraqui none or from the cigarette someone smoked at the edge of the field nicotine Miniscule quantities of almost every substance can be found in every laboratory test Residues in the product the great organic scandal 5 Quality has roots Did you know Pyrrolizidine alkaloids PAs are not pesticides Plants use so called pyrrolizidine alkaloids PAs to protect themselves from insect damage This means that PAs are not pesticides applied by humans but rather secondary metabo lites which plants produce themselves There are more than 500 known types of PA worldwide which occur in a very di verse range of plants PAs cannot be found in tea plants but they do occur in various weeds e g the common ragwort which can grow in the same areas where the tea is farmed At harvesting time these weeds sometimes end up being picked too However since the weeds are scattered around the field and are not evenly distributed when the crop is being pro cessed they only turn up in tea occasionally This fact alone is not alarming in itself What it points to most of all is the efficiency and progress of modern measurements the well known sugar cube can even be detected when it has dissolved into the almost three billion li tres of water in Lake Starnberg Bavaria Soon we ll be able to detect it in the North Sea This high level of measuring accuracy in lab oratory technology is a great asset to targeted measurements in quality control This makes it easier to ascertain to a greater degree of ac curacy than ever before where the substances come from and what effective measures need to be taken However the antiseptically inspired expectation that organically farmed products need to be produced in such a way that they are completely free of residue is something that new laboratory technology cannot satisfy But does this mean that we can no longer justify organic farming Even if a complete and utter lack of pesticides cannot be guaranteed the pesticide levels in organic products are many times lower than those contained in conventional goods For example organic vegetables contain on av erage 320 times fewer pesticides as revealed by organic monitoring which the federal state of Baden Württemberg has been carrying out since 2002 The official result can be explained by the simple fact that no pesticides are used in organic farming However opting to avoid pesticides has yet another positive effect organic plants have to be more robust and able to defend themselves against diseases As a consequence they build antioxidants This means that these contents which are also beneficial to humans can be found in considerably greater quantities in or ganic products It was first possible to provide comprehensive proof of this in a meta study published in 2014 by Newcastle University Ac cording to the scientists data organic food

Vorschau Sustainability Report 2016 Seite 94
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