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The university is an independent, non-profit, research institute with the aim of advancing cutting-edge science in the field of organic agriculture. University research team works together with farmers to develop innovative and cost-effective solutions to boost agricultural productivity while never losing sight of environmental, health and socio-economic impacts. Alongside practical research it gives high priority to transferring knowledge into agricultural practice through advisory work, training and conferences. The university has offices in Switzerland, Germany and Austria and numerous projects and initiatives in Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa.
The university has long been committed to the international development of organic agriculture. It works closely with the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) and other international organisations. The University has a highly competent staff with expertise in organic soil management, plant production, holistic animal health, animal ethology and organic animal breeding, in socioeconomics, in comprehensive analysis of the organic market, in organic food processing and production and in regional marketing and development.
The university employs a staff of over 175 employees. It is a non-profit association registered in Frankfurt, with a staff of around 30, supported by experts who work under contract Austria is a service hub and serves with a staff of around 25 as an interface between science and practice. Moreover there were almost 2.4 million producers and the countries with the highest numbers of producers are India, Ethiopia and Mexico.
The university research work for food quality as the expectations regarding organic food are high organic food should be pesticide-free, tasty and healthy, and be processed in an environmentally friendly and socially responsible way. Animal welfare and site- and species-specific husbandry, as well as the prohibition of synthetic pesticides, mineral fertilisers, genetic engineering and synthetic ingredients in organic farming should be reflected in the quality of organic food. These expectations make it clear that the quality of food cannot be reduced to just the individual characteristics of the product, but must include the entire process from the field to the plate. Therefore, in today’s understanding of the term, food quality includes not only regional added value, quality assurance, fair trade and sustainability, but also energy consumption and production and processing techniques, besides Fruit and vegetables are the epitome of healthy food. The production of most fruits and vegetables requires much care. Frequent use of crop protection products in conventional farming carries the risk of residues being left on the produce. Some vegetables are very susceptible to pests and diseases. An infestation can reduce the yield, result in lower quality and reduce the shelf life of the product. Conventional fruits and vegetables are often contaminated with pesticide residues. However, with today’s sensitive analytical methods, traces of pesticides can also be detected in organic food. According to recently published comparative studies, organic food contains significantly lower amounts of pesticide residues than conventional food. Convenience food is defined as ready to eat or semi-ready to eat dishes that can be prepared easily and quickly, another disadvantage of ready meals is the high proportion of preservatives and other food additives that they contain. Additives are used, for example, for colouring, preservation or sensory effects. There are more than 320 additives approved for the processing of conventional food in Europe. All these substances must be guaranteed to not be harmful to human health. Nevertheless, in many cases their use is unnecessary and unnatural. Organic products need to be authentic. Therefore, only essential additives are allowed in the processing of organic food.