German organic producer takes on Danone
The German brewery Neumarkter Lammsbräu has issued a warning to the Danone Group on behalf of the Quality Association for Organic Mineral Water and numerous medium-sized mineral wells. Because its mineral water subsidiary Volvic advertises its water with the terms “Naturally organic” and “Premium mineral water in organic quality”. “Volvic is not organic mineral water and carries only a false organic seal,” argues Susanne Horn, Managing Director of Neumarkter Lammsbräu. The aim of the warning is to protect consumers and organic principles.
Different certificates for organic quality
Neumarkter Lammsbräu is one of the companies whose mineral water is certified according to the strict criteria of the Bio-Mineralwasser-Richtlinien der Qualitätsgemeinschaft Bio-Mineralwasser e.V. (Organic Mineral Water Quality Association). This guideline is supported by the organic associations Bioland, Naturland, Demeter, Biokreis as well as the Federal Association for Natural Food and Natural Products, according to the communication of the Quality Association.
Volvic, on the other hand, only bears the label “Premium mineral water in organic quality” awarded to its customers by the private company SGS Institut Fresenius. The quality community argues that Fresenius’ guidelines allow as many residues of pesticides and their degradation products as the regulations for conventional mineral water. In addition, the use of radioactive irradiation and industrial carbon dioxide is expressly permitted.
Water is not always organic
The Quality Association refers to the ruling of the Federal Court of Justice on the Bio Mineral Water Directive. It stipulates that organic mineral water must be significantly purer than conventional water. The association developing the guidelines, the independent certification authority and the food manufacturer must also be separate. This is also not the case with Volvic. Fresenius individually adapts the certification and its scope to the requirements of the respective customer. “This practically excludes possible infringements and the resulting consequences, such as the withdrawal of the seal,” writes the Quality Association.
Susanne Horn also sees the warning as a means against greenwashing concepts in the conventional food industry: “It is unacceptable that the same companies that contribute to the destruction of the environment by conventional agriculture with their product range should now want to give the impression of being part of the organic solution with sham organic seals tailored precisely to their needs. We must all turn against this together.” (organic-market)