The European Union is known for its extensive bureaucracy and intricate policies – we talked about the cucumber-straightness regulations before -, but it is also pretty good at trying to gather public opinions on its policies before reforming them. Its newest project: A consultation for the review of the European policy on organic agriculture!
It’s a quick, painless, maximum 15 minutes questionnaire that asks you questions such as
- How ‘organic’ is your food consumption?
- How much more are you willing to pay for organic produce compared to conventional foods?
- Did you know that under current regulations, the possible presence of GMO ingredients of up to 0.9% of the product content does not have to be labeled? Should it?
- Should animal welfare standards be strengthened? In both organic and conventional agriculture?
- Do you recognize and use the mandatory EU organic logo?
Some of the questions are pretty in-depth and bring up policy trade-offs that the average consumer rarely thinks of, for example when they ask whether current exemptions for organic farmers from certain product rules in extraordinary circumstances should be continued or not. For example, farmers are allowed to use conventional, non-treated seeds when they have no access to organic ones or can use non-organic animals and still label their products as ‘organic’. Does that dilute the meaning of organic or contribute to the simplification of the production process and thus spread the idea of organic farming? Well, don’t let me make up your mind for you, since the EU gives everybody the option to make their voice heard!
Go here for the consultation introduction or here for the quick link directly to the questionnaire. Oh, and if you have lengthy ideas, they even give you the option of writing in (via e-mail at AGRI-ORGANIC-CONSULTATION@ec.europa.eu). This consultation is open until April 22nd, and there are two more currently in progress – check out the consultation homepage for a direct overview of what you can contribute to at any given time.