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  • Writer's picturePhillip Radcliffe

What are Organic Vegetables?

(Japanese translation below)

By Ryoga Fujikawa

In Japan, organic vegetables are defined as follows; 1) no pesticides or chemical fertilizers have been used in the fields for more than 2 years for single-year crops and more than 3 years for permanent crops, and 2) organic vegetables are farmed without GM (Genetically Modified) seeds, synthetic fertilizers, or synthetic pesticides. If it passes these requirements, farmers can use the JAS (Japanese Agricultural Standards) seal of approval.

However, there is no global consensus for the use of pesticides with organic vegetables. Strictly speaking, pesticides are not forbidden, so farmers can use anything that consists of things like copper, sulfur, calcium oxide, vegetable oils and so on. Whether farmers use many kinds of pesticides or not, they can sell their vegetables as organic.

In addition, organic vegetables contain more nutrients than normal like vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids, but they are not necessarily healthier. Also, it is necessary to grow organic vegetables in greenhouses, which use a lot of energy, so it is not better for the environment than vegetables grown using pesticides. Organic is just a kind of ideology.

It cannot be stated unconditionally that organic vegetables are superior, and they are more expensive than regular produce, so there is no need to actively buy them. However, it is important to understand that consumers should buy what they need now, regardless of how the vegetables are grown, and that reducing food loss is better for the environment than anything else.


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