This is the organic top ten

Organic produce might cost more than conventional food stuff. So you might ask yourself which products you should start to buy in order to get the best environmental impact for each euro. This is a top ten list of the produce that give the most impact on the environment. If you only choose to buy one organic product you should choose milk.

1. Milk
The choice for an open landscape and a rich bioversity. With a lot of pasture-ground the output of the farm increases. And you save rain forests since much of the conventional fodder is based on soy from farmlands (made in cut down rain forests) that has been taken from small farmers and is heavily sprayed with pesticides. This forces the small farmers to cut down (more) rain forests to survive.

2. Bananas
Go for the smaller and spotted organic bananas. Conventionally bananas are sprayed with 50kilos of pesticides per hectare annually (the average for Swedish farms is ca 0.4kilos). Often without protection for the farmers and with pesticides that are illegal in the EU. Sprayed fruits often contain residues of the pesticides.

3. Coffee
Organic coffee is from small scale farms that also grow other plants. This means a lot for both plants and animals. Conventional coffee is grown on large single crop plantations that are not made to impede erosion and use pesticides that are illegal in the EU such as the herbicide paraquat and insecticide endosulphane (in Latin America). Drink organic coffee and you prevent the farmers from being poisoned and promote biodiversity.

4. Eggs
Hens that lay the organic eggs live a more natural life and are given organic produce for food, such as grass and clover. By eating organic eggs you promote the end of pesticides, increased biodiversity, increased productivity and an open landscape. Furthermore, many mention the better taste and more yellow yolks.

5. Potatoes
At least in Sweden the conventional potatoe is the most pesticide intensive crop with 4.5 kilos per hectare annually. In the south of Sweden seven to eight sprays are made each year. Organic potatoes are not sprayed with pesticides. The organic potatoe is part of a organic farming cycle with different crops each year (in order to promote better weed resistance and increased productivity). Weeds are removed mechanically.

6. Carrots
Also organic carrots are part of the organic farming cycle that includes nitrogen fixating plants such as peas. This enables farming without trade fertiliser and pesticides. Demand that the grocer store the produce correctly. Carrots usually get pale and bitter if stored at room

7. Bread and flour
Organic cereals are also grown in the organic farming cycle. There is indeed a symbloic value of having our daily bread from toxins ( = pesticides).

8. Pork meat
Organic pigs are allowed to move around and grub about freely. The fodder is organic produce and promotes open landscapes. Conventional pigs never see day light.

9. Lamb meat
Sheep maintains a open landscape. Organic sheep are not chemically dewormed. In a conventional farm the soil is full of deworming chemicals that impede biodiversity. Organic sheep are grazing together with other animals with different parasites. In this way they decrease the amount of each others parasites.

10. Cow meat
Yet again, grazing animals keep the landscape open. Organic cows feed themselves to a higher degree on fresh grass than conventional cows do that often do not graze at all. Organic cows get organic fodder, often from the same farm. Again, you save the rain forests (see soy under the top one). The ready made products in the stores are clear evidence that you do not have to choose a special diet or different produce in order to be an organic consumer.

This is how the top ten list was made
Five experts were asked to give their top ten lists. These were merged into one. The experts were Inger Källander from the Ekologiska lantbrukarna (Organic Farmers in Sweden), Marita Axelssson at the Konsumentverket ( the Swedish Consumer Protection Agency), Solweig Wall Ellström at Krav (KRAV – Swedish ecolabel certifier), Pernilla Malmer from Svenska Naturskyddsföreningen (the Swedish Nature Protection Society) and Johanna Björklund at Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet ( the Swedish Farming University).

The focus has been on the environmental aspects. Positive health aspects have not affected this top ten list although it has been noted under many points. Nor was the animal protection included. One the other hand the availability was judged. It should be easy to make the organic choice.

För er som hanterar det svenska språket så finns originalet på ICA Kurirens hemsida: ICA Kurirens hemsida.
Publicerad: 2004-09-22. Skriven av Peter Gerdehag

Translated to English by Johan who also added a few comments.


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