The appeal-to-nature fallacy: Homeopathy and biodynamic agriculture in official EU regulations


There is no scientific evidence to support the affirmation that organic food is more nutritious or that its production is more sustainable than traditional food. In addition, productivity is very low and, concomitantly, the price is higher. This article reviews the basics of EU regulations on organic food production and concludes that, for the most part, they mislead the consumer and are not science based. Most of them rely on concepts related to the appeal-to-nature fallacy, with the explicit presence of pseudosciences, such as homeopathy or biodynamic agriculture. On the other hand, interesting aspects such as the carbon footprint or local production are not present in the regulations, and technological improvements that could be useful for organic food production are excluded.


EU organic food; appeal to nature; homeopathy; biodynamic agriculture; pseudoscience

Full Text:



  1. Barański, M., Srednicka-Tober, D., Volakakis, N., Seal, C., Sanderson, R., Stewart, G. B., … Leifert, C. (2014). Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: A systematic literature review and meta-analyses. British Journal of Nutrition, 112(5), 784–811. doi: 10.1017/S0007114514001366

  2. Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 of 28 June 2007, on organic production and labelling of organic products and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91. (2007). Retrieved from 

  3. Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 203/2012 of 8 March 2012, amending Regulation (EC) No 889/2008 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007, as regards detailed rules on organic wine. (2012). Retrieved from uriserv:OJ.L_.2012.071.01.0042.01.ENG

  4. Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 354/2014 of 8 April 2014, amending and correcting Regulation (EC) No 889/2008 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products with regard to organic production, labelling and control. (2014). Retrieved from

  5. Crowder, D. W., & Reganold, J. P. (2015). Financial competitiveness of organic agriculture on a global scale. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, 112(24), 7611–7616. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1423674112 

  6. GfK Emer Ad Hoc Research. (2011). Estudio del perfil del consumidor de alimentos ecológicos (770-11-325-6). Madrid: Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Medio Rural y Marino (currently Ministerio de Agricultura y Pesca, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente). Retrieved from 

  7. Hammarberg, K. E. (2001). Animal welfare in relation to standards in organic farming. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica, 95, 17–25. 

  8. IFOAM. (2006). The IFOAM norms for organic production and processing. Version 2005. Bonn: IFOAM.

  9. Kirchmann, H. (1994). Biological dynamic farming — An occult form of alternative agriculture? Journal of Agricultural Environmental Ethics, 7(2), 173–187. doi: 10.1007/BF02349036

  10. King, L. A., Nogareda, F., Weill, F. X., Mariani-Kurkdjian, P., Loukiadis, E., Gault, G., … De Valk, H. (2012). Outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O104:H4 associated with organic fenugreek sprouts, France, June 2011. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 54(11), 1588–1594. doi: 10.1093/cid/cis255

  11. Klett, M. (2006). Principles of biodynamic spray and compost preparations. Edinburgh. Floris Books.

  12. Mathie, R. T., & Clausen, J. (2014). Veterinary pathy: Systematic review of medical conditions studied by randomised placebo-controlled trials. Veterinary Record, 175, 373–381. doi: 10.1136/vr.101767 

  13. Micheloni, C. (2009). Organic viticulture and wine-making: Development of environment and consumer friendly technologies for organic wine quality improvement and scientifically based legislative framework (022769). Retrieved from 

  14. Mulet, J. M. (2014). Should we recommend organic crop foods on the basis of health benefits? Letter to the editor regarding the article by Barański et al. British Journal of Nutrition, 112(10), 1745–1747. doi: 10.1017/S0007114514002645 

  15. Saher, M., Lindeman, M., & Hursti, U. K. (2006). Attitudes towards genetically modified and organic foods. Appetite, 46(3), 324–331. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2006.01.015

  16. Soil Association. (2009). Memorandum from the Soil Association. Retrieved from

  17. Synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production, 7 C. F. R.  §205.601. (2010).

Creative Commons License
Texts in the journal are –unless otherwise indicated– published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License