Tuesday, October 11, 2005

You Call That Organic?

In response to a question posed by Tabor in a comment to an earlier post of mine, here are the basic principles of the Japanese standard for organic agricultural products, as of 2001:

“(1) To sustain and enhance the natural recycling in agriculture, the productivity of
the farmland derived from the soil properties shall be generated by avoiding the
usage of the chemical synthetic fertilizer and agricultural chemicals, and the
organic agricultural products shall be produced in fields adopting such
cultivation management method as reducing the load derived from the
agricultural production on the environment as much as possible.

(2) In collection fields (meaning the field for collecting the agricultural products
growing spontaneously; being the same hereafter), to collect the agricultural
products by such methods as affecting no damage for preserving the ecosystem
of the collection fields.”

The major loophole here of course, which you could drive an agribusiness chemical plant through, is “as much as possible.” Though it would be exceedingly difficult, maybe impossible, to derive an organic standard that's fully satisfactory to all parties, surely Japan can do better than this. It is a start at least, but a poor one.

Here is the pdf for the full Japanese Organic Standard. (9 pages)

Free downloadable reference book containing 6 international organic standards (US, European, Japanese, Quebec, Swiss, and IFOAM)

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