CULTURE

Shopping for organic food gets even safer

We frequently wonder, when buying a product advertising itself as being organically grown, whether we can fully trust the label promoting its healthful qualities. A series of stringent controls throughout the product’s production, however, ensures that we get what we pay for. Now, not only are organically grown products certified, but the outlets at which they are sold are also being given special licenses. Organic farming is a relatively new practice in Greece, officially established in 1985 with the Association of Organic Agriculture. The first instance of mass organic farming was in the late 1980s with the production of currants in the northern Peloponnese city of Aigion and olive oil from the Mani region in the southern Peloponnese. The watershed, though, was in 1993 when EU regulation 2092/91 was implemented. In the two years that followed the new statute, organic farming experienced an impressive 102-percent increase. Another important step on the way to a safer, cleaner diet was taken in 2001 with the launch of organic livestock farming. The European Union, in an effort to assuage consumers’ reservations over foodstuffs, has established a new system of checks which ensures that each member state will have complete control of a product’s production from the farm to your table, certifying that all goods comply with regulations. Organically grown products in Greece are certified by three bodies, DIO, SOGE and FYSIOLOGIKI, and their stamp can be found on all products that have passed through the controls laid down by EU statutes. These bodies’ aims, besides inspecting and certifying products, are also to promote the practice of organic farming in Greece both as a means to protect the environment and to protect consumers from the often harmful chemicals used in conventional large-scale farming. The groups organize public awareness events throughout the country and assist in showing farmers how to apply organic farming techniques. Now, stores also need to be certified to sell these products. Organically certified merchants are obliged to sell products that have been certified in turn by the relevant authorities, though this does not mean that the stores cannot sell other products, such as regulated brand-name products, especially when there is a shortage in the market for the specific product. These stores can also sell non-foodstuffs as long as they are environmentally friendly. Certified outlets Listed below are the addresses and telephone numbers of certain certified organic stores around the country: Viologikos Kyklos (Biological Circle): 90 Ag Dimitrios, tel 010.975.6418; 50 Mantzagriotaki, Kallithea, tel 010.953.7415; 1 Corinthou, Illioupolis, tel 010.996.1133; 45 Aghias Varvaras, Palaio Faliron, tel 010.985.0445; 9 D. Gounari, Peristeri, tel 010.578.6922; 26 C. Varnali, Halandri, tel 010.682.5275; 44 Papavassiliou & Dragonea, Markopoulo, tel 02990.49.063. Green Farm: 5 Dousmani, Glyfada, tel 010.898.5191; 13 Dimokritou, Kolonaki, tel 010.361.4001; 8 D. Ralli & 14 Hadziantoniou, Maroussi, tel 010.614.1914; 134 Eleftheriou Venizelou, Nea Erythraia, tel 010.620.4044. Viorama: 4 El. Venizelou, Kato Pefki, tel 010.806.2489; 7 Karagiorgi, Iraklion, tel 010.275.9904; 4 Iasonidou, Panorama, Thessaloniki, tel 0310.692.211. Viopolis: 5 Ag. Sofias, Nea Ionia, 010.279.6011. To Perivoli tis Oikologias (Ecology’s Orchard): 13-15 A. Metaxa, Exarchia, tel 010.384.7766. Herba: 58 Filaretou, Kallithea, tel 010.952.5806. Farm Land: 18 Pan. Kyriakou, Maroussi, tel 010.614.7700. Nativus: 9 Aspasias, Pangrati, tel 010.752.1577. Mirabilis: 12 Aghiou Meletiou, Kypseli, tel 010.822.1206. Viogonos: 46 Solonos, Oraiokastro, Thessaloniki, tel 0310.692.211. Peri Physeos kai Diatrofis (On Nature and Nutrition): 9 Epidavrou, Ano Toumba, Thessaloniki, tel 0310.948.498. Bio Bio: 6 Mitropolitou Iosif, Thessaloniki, tel 0310.240.580. Green House: 91 Pondou, Kalamaria, Thessaloniki, tel 0310.443.794. Ecozoe: 104 Theotokou & Andreadi, Corfu, tel 06610.49.294. Organic Produce Store: 24 Nik. Kalogera, Myconos, tel 02890.24.659. Vio-oasis: 2A Chrysomalousis, Mytilene, tel 02510.45.905. Gaia: 2 Dimitrakaki, Hania, Crete, tel 08210.28.783. Bioforum SA: 22 Ag Titou, Iraklion, Crete, 0810.325.661; 13 Ethnikis Antistasis, Iraklion, Crete, 0810.241.221. Amaltheia: 19 Pigasou, Corinth, tel 07410.20.682. Ktima Daskalaki: 144 Kydonias, Hania, Crete, tel 0821.36.009.