Bio Suisse certification is a private standard belonging to the association of the same name, which differs from the European standard. It is required for any organic farmer who wishes to grow and sell on the Swiss market with an organic label.
It is a global agricultural management and food production system that combines the best environmental practices, a high level of biodiversity and the preservation of natural resources to reach the level required by the Swiss market.
Bio Suisse regulates the following areas:
- Requirements for all categories: certification standards, labeling and conversion to organic production.
- Plant production: General requirements for cultivation methods, soil fertility and plant protection, including specifications for seeds and plant material, food, vegetables, fruits, wine, mushrooms and wild harvest. In addition to the specific Bio Suisse standard requirements for improving the biodiversity of agricultural ecosystems.
- Animal production: in addition to the general principles, including specifications for various species, there are also standards for aquaculture.
- Processing and marketing: in addition to the general requirements, authorized additives, etc. include requirements for winemaking, cleaning and pest control for packaging materials and import
- Fair trade and social standards
It is also necessary for customers who wish to export their organic food and ecological production to Switzerland, even if they have certificates from other countries. The implementation and certification of the standard on farms is a quality assurance for its customers who supply the Swiss market.
Submission of the certification request
If you apply for recognition to grow organically, this must be formally submitted to Bio Suisse. Then, you will have to renew the recognition process every year. All companies recognized by Bio Suisse receive a letter attesting to the recognition, which is equivalent to a confirmation of compliance.
For the recognition process, Bio Suisse must have detailed documents provided by the company to monitor compliance with Bio Suisse rules. It usually takes 4-6 weeks to process an application.
Conditions for obtaining the Bio Suisse label
- The plants must be produced on the farm or come from farms where the production is in accordance with the Bud.
- Potting soils and growing mediums: growing vegetables is only permitted in soil. If you grow with hydroculture systems and culture on mineral wool or on nutrient film than other soilless methods, this will prevent you from obtaining the label. The use of peat to enrich the soil with organic matter is prohibited. Likewise, the incorporation of Styromull and other synthetic materials in floors and substrates is also prohibited.
- Steam sterilization of soils and potting mixes: For crops under cover and the production of seedlings, the control of weeds by means of superficial steam sterilization is authorized. Likewise, potting soils and substrates can be steam sterilized. However, this process should be kept to a strict minimum.
- Cultivation in greenhouses and under tunnels: during the winter, the heating of crops under cover is only authorized to keep them frost-free (approximately + 5°C). Plant production is an exception. The choice of heating system and fuel must take ecological criteria into account. It is necessary to ensure good insulation of the greenhouses and limit the use of plastic mulching, non-wovens, etc. to what is strictly necessary. Once used, these artificial mulches must be recycled.
- The fruits must receive sufficient sunlight throughout the growing season.
- Soil maintenance: orchards must be grassed all year round. Monocultures intended to cover the ground should be avoided.
- Plant protection and crop maintenance: the choice of tree formation, tree distances, varieties and crop maintenance should serve to increase the resistance of fruit trees. For new plantings, priority should be given to the most resistant fruit varieties.
- Fertilization and mulch: the additions of organic matter must be left on the surface to constitute a mulch or possibly be incorporated superficially. That is, fertilization and mulching must be done in a timely manner and with restraint. This is so as not to disturb the physiological balance of the trees and not to diminish the quality of the fruits.
The Bio Suisse label in conclusion
As you have seen, obtaining an organic label is not an easy thing! Although hydroponics offers multiple advantages, this cultivation technique cannot currently benefit from an organic label in Switzerland. However, some countries already recognize this technique and therefore authorize the use of the label. Maybe one day it will be the same in Switzerland…
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