IATE Term of the Week: organic food


Deciding what to eat is part of our daily routine but making a decision can be difficult and depends on different factors such as economic, social, physical and personal. Statistics say that, despite the economic crisis, more consumers prefer organic food even if it is “more expensive than conventional ingredients” (Katsarova, p.2). Last June, the European Parliament and the European Council agreed on new rules regarding organic food in order to “increase consumer trust in organic foodstuffs” and encourage more farmers to produce organic food (European Parliament, 2017). Therefore, the term organic food has been chosen as this week’s IATE Term of the Week.

Market stand with vegetables

“The development of organic production is a political objective of the EU” (Tropea, p.1) and although its organic sector has constantly expanded, the EU’s organic land area “represents only 6.2%” of the “total agricultural area in Europe” (European Commission 2016, p.5). According to Eurostat data, the area under organic agriculture in the EU was 11.1 million hectares in 2015. Around 40% of the total organic area in EU is located in “Spain (almost 2 million ha), Italy (about 1.5 million ha) and Germany (1 million ha)” (European Commission 2016, p.8).

IATE defines organic food as “foods grown without using chemical fertilizers or pesticides, and/or not containing preservatives or genetically modified ingredients.”

Here you can see the entry for organic food in IATE:

IATE entry for organic food

According to the European Commission, “[m]ore than 70 % of Europeans say they trust organic products.” However, consumer trust is not only about quality of food produced in an environmentally friendly way without the use of genetically modified organisms, since it is also about preserving the environment, assuring “good conditions for animals” and stimulating “rural development” (European Commission, 2017).

EU Organic Logo

In 2010, an “EU organic logo” was introduced to help consumers identify organic products. The use of the ‘organic leaf’ is obligatory for pre-packed EU products and optional for imported products (Weissenberger, p.18).

[su_note note_color=”#dcea0f”][su_button url=”http://termcoord.eu/contribute-to-iate/” style=”flat”]Contribute to IATE![/su_button] We would appreciate your contribution to update this term in your language. An IATE terminologist of the relevant language will be in charge of the validation of contributions and, thus, a delay is to be expected.[/su_note]

IATE definition of organic food - A table with vegetables

We suggest that you check some previous IATE Terms of the Week that relate to the environment:

We also encourage you to check related glossaries through our Glossary Links tool and through our recently-updated EU Glossaries‘ list!

Enjoy terminology learning and have a nice weekend!

Written by Elena Sychkova – Study visitor at the Terminology Coordination Unit and a student of the Master programme in Learning and Communication in Multilingual and Multicultural Contexts at the University of Luxembourg. Elena has a Master’s degree in the Russian language and Literature, and Bachelor’ degree in English and French Philology.

Proofread and prepared by Pedro RamosTranslator, Social Media and Content Manager, Communication Trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament (Luxembourg).


  • European Commission (2016) Facts and figures on organic agriculture in the European Union. Available at: http://bit.ly/2wi4udb (Accessed 17 August 2017)
  • European Commission (2017) “Consumer Trust” in Organic Farming – Agriculture and Rural Development. Available at: http://bit.ly/2vLAjZI (Accessed 17 August 2017)
  • European Parliament (2017) Organic food: new rules for EU label agreed. Available at: http://bit.ly/2uOj2xo (Accessed 16 August 2017)
  • Katsarova, Ivana (2015) Organic food: Helping EU consumers make an informed choice. Available at: http://bit.ly/2w9dLF2 (Accessed 16 August 2017)
  • Tropea, Francesco (2015) Organic farming legislation – Revision of Regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products. Available at: http://bit.ly/2i4K9T5 (Accessed 16 August 2017)
  • Weissenberger, Jean (2015) Organic production and the European Union. Available at: http://bit.ly/2w0EkMj (Accessed 16 August 2017)