It goes without saying that stepping into your regional organic store to buy your fruits, vegetables, dairy / soya products feels a million times safer than buying them from the supermarket across the road for a fraction of a price. But what’s with bio prodcuts packed in plastic? Where do you draw the line?
What about BioMate? What is that about?
The best Mate cannot be certified organic according to EU standards as it is not on the official list of items that can be certified according to the German Bundsanstalt fuer Landwirtschaft und Ernahrung.
According to the German Ministerium für Infrastruktur und Landwirtschaft des Landes Brandenburg there is no official EU Bio Certification for Mate. Producers are free to write Organic or Bio on their Mate packaging but the official EU Bio Logo cannot be on the Mate package.
The German ministry said that they would investigate the matter deeply, because there are many mates on the market today with the EU Bio Logo which goes against the contract between the state of Brandenburg and the EU
The important Clause in this treaty (on page 119) specifically states that Mate is not an agricultural product. This is something that most manufacturers are not aware of. This treaty was made before Mate became such a trend in Berlin. It remains to be seen if it will be amended by pressure from the EU Organic Industry or Mate distributors.
This means that all organic mate products on the German market should not have the EU Bio Logo on their packaging.
Most of the mate that is certified as organic stems from monocultures, which means that while you are guarenteed that your mate is free of GMO’s and pesticides (which are not even an issue in wild mate harvests). Organic mate normally belongs to the industrial mate sector, which has the facilities and resources to pay the fees which small producers cannot afford. Small family producers who have been harvesting mate for generations are unable to compete with growing industrial regulations and are often forced to deliver their mate at a fraction of the price to certified producers who then multiply their income under the guise of fair and bio.
Wild forest harvested mate, what has the maximum health benefits is not normally certified organic although it does not need fertilizer or pesticides. There is no need to water erveiras in the forests, the rain take care of this as it has for centuries.
The centralization of mate production through collectives disables the independent production of mate in a small scale from producers whose fathers and grandfathers operated barbaquas and had the whole mate production under their hands. This chains the farmers to a salary instead of having financial autonomy.
Bio Mate mostly stems from monocultures which are incomparable to the quality of mate harvested from trees protected in the forest.
We were working on certifying an acceptable source of industrial mate as organic just to have the stamp, however, we now know that this is invalid. More details to come….