Tested for organic and office

bio.inspecta is one of the bodies when it comes to inspecting and certifying farms.

In order for the 7500 organic farms in Switzerland to be allowed to call themselves organic, they are regularly inspected. There are two inspection bodies that award the organic label. The farmers choose these themselves. One of them is bio.inspecta. Mischa Müller (34) in Schöfflisdorf, Canton Zurich, therefore receives a visit from bio.inspecta once a year. In addition, ten percent of the organic farms are randomly inspected again without prior notice.

Pascale Strauss (32), Regional Manager North-East Switzerland of bio.inspecta, always works from the outdoors to the indoors during her visits. At Mischa Müller's grazing farm, she starts in the fields, then comes to the chickens and the cows, to the pension horses and the hobby animals alpacas, before going into the office, where nutrient balances, seed origin records, animal exercise journals and other documents are scrutinised. An organic inspection is a major effort for both the farm managers and the organic inspectors. Half a day is over quickly. Mischa Müller's two chicken coops with a total of 400 chickens are subject to strict regulations. For example, the daylight must be bright enough so that reading newspapers would be possible. Since chickens are sensitive to light, there are also regulations for lamps, explains Mischa Müller. "The wrong light would make them aggressive." The coop and conservatory must be protected from martens. The bad weather run is precisely regulated, as is the height of the perches. and the width of the sand bath. "We look at everything and check the dimensions," explains Pascale Strauss.   

Exciting side job
Pascale Strauss is responsible for one hundred farms per year. All inspectors are also farmers themselves. "You have to like people," she explains. It is important that an inspection is carried out with respect. "We don’t want to act as the police in any way". In one or two cases per year, the label is withdrawn from a farm. "More often, however, it is minor deficiencies that need to be remedied," says Pascale Strauss.

This article appeared in the Coop employee magazine "Forte 1/2023".