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Delicious Living Blog

Italy: A leader in organic foods

Here are some things you probably didn’t imagine about Italy:

• Italy is the number one producer of organic fruit in the European Union.

• It is also the number one exporter of all things organic to the EU.

• Italians are committed to sustainability in their farming practices. They really understand that without sustainable farming practices, there is no future for their children.

The government actively recruits Italian farmers to convert to organic farming, a three-year process, educating them, offering financial incentives, and so on.

• As a result, since 1990, they have seen 1,100 percent growth in the number of acres committed to organics, while the acreage committed to conventional agriculture has been shrinking.

• In Rome, 70 percent of the meals served in school canteens are now organic. There is a movement to reach these kinds of numbers in every Italian city.

• Italian research has found that just one organic meal per day reduces the traceable amount of pesticides in a child’s system.

• As of January 1, Italians are now able to claim that organic foods have higher nutritional values than conventionally grown foods, due to published scientific research.

• When something has been labeled ‘Bio’ in Italy (their word for ‘organic)’ the consumer can rest assured that it has gone through a regulation and inspection process that would put many American companies out of business, if not out of their minds. Nine large agencies are accredited to certify Quality Assurance. Producers must pay for required third-party certification. Inspections are both planned and random. Inspectors must have scientific degrees in disciplines like biology, veterinary, etc.

I think Americans might have some things to learn from our older kinsmen about living as if there was a future.

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