The bio and eco labels have the same meaning and refer to organic production in compliance with the European regulations governing the field of organic farming. Some EU countries use the term ecological or organic farming, others biological farming. Therefore, both the eco and the bio label are correct.
The products can be labelled as eco or bio only by a producer of organic products. The producer must be under the supervision of one of the control bodies accredited under the international standard carrying out the inspection of organic production and processing. The eco/bio label can therefore only be used for products with at least 95 percent of organically produced ingredients.
Organic farming does not permit the use of chemicals, disinfected seeds, highly soluble mineral fertilisers, genetically modified organisms, synthetic additives in the feed or any kind of animal treatment with chemotherapeutic agents. In the processing itself, the aim is to preserve as many nutritional substances contained in the produce as possible. The use of artificial preservatives or food colouring is not allowed. All this makes the quality of organic food products much higher than that of conventional food products. Organic farming produces food that makes us healthier, while at the same time it protects nature: it helps to preserve clean air and water and all the diversity of the animal and plant life, is environmentally-friendly, preserves soil fertility and protects natural sources.
Numerous studies have shown that organically produced and processed food products are better than conventionally produced food products. Organic food products are products with high quality nutritional value and are richer in vitamins and minerals as well as taste.
Conventionally produced food products usually contain a whole lot of E’s. These come in many forms: from fairly innocent preserving agents to various laboratory-grown chemicals. Additives are added to food products for the purposes of preservation, to improve their colour and taste and to make production and processing cheaper. Their cheapness also affects the quality: there is a great difference between fruit yoghurt that contains pieces of organically produced strawberries and one that, in place of natural strawberries, contains chemicals for artificial strawberry flavour and smell. Not only in its appearance and taste but also in the effect it has on the body. The additives used by the industry to make products attractive, long-lasting and cheap on the one hand and cause them to be poor in content of vitally important substances on the other do not do the human body good or may even be harmful.
Probiotics are live microorganisms (bacteria and yeasts) that have a beneficial effect on the host’s health if consumed in sufficient amounts. Probiotics affect the host’s physiology by strengthening intestinal and immune system response and improving the nutrient and microbe balance in the gastrointestinal track. Probiotic food products contain microorganisms, mainly from the genus Lactobacillus, and represent the natural intestinal flora and prevent the growth of pathogenic or opportunistic bacteria in the intestines.
Probiotics for people mainly appear in the form of functional food and less in the form of nutritional supplements and over-the-counter drugs. One of the most popular probiotic food products are probiotic yoghurts. New probiotic products have recently appeared on the market: probiotic cottage cheese, cheese and even sausages, probiotic milk drinks and spreads and mainly vegetarian food products of plant origin.
The functionality of probiotic bacteria is based on their ability to survive and colonise the gastrointestinal tract. When they reach the lower parts of the intestines, they multiply and exert their beneficial effect on health. Scientific studies confirming this effect already exist for certain types of bacteria. However, for most bacteria, evidence is still needed.
Extensive research has been done primarily into the effects of probiotics on:
Certain effects are anticipated but not yet proven:
When standing before the full supermarket shelves, we often start to wonder what are the differences between similar products, particularly between yoghurt (probiotic yoghurt), soured milk and kefir. They all fall into the category of fermented milk, the main difference between them being in the microorganisms causing the fermentation. From a historical point of view, these microorganisms depend on the climatic conditions. Yoghurt is a typical warm-climate product and soured milk can be found at higher altitudes with a cooler climate. Out of the three, kefir stands out the most as it contains not only bacteria but also yeasts.
Yoghurt (in Turkish yoghurut – curdled milk) is the most well-known and popular fermented dairy product. It is produced with the help of selected lactic acid bacteria in the process of milk fermentation, during which some of the lactose is converted into lactic acid. The milk fermentation is triggered by the starter culture containing two bacteria, Streptococcus salivarius spp. thermophilus and Lactobacillus delbrückii spp. bulgaricus.
Probiotics are live microorganisms (bacteria and yeasts) that have a beneficial effect on the host’s health if consumed in sufficient amounts. As more extensive research has been done in the past twenty years on the effect of probiotic bacteria on people’s health, the dairy industry has started to incorporate them extensively in the production of dairy products, thus contributing to the development of the new generation of food products, among which probiotic yoghurts have an important position. The main difference between regular and probiotic yoghurt is in the bacteria they contain. The bacteria in regular yoghurt rarely make it to the gastrointestinal tract and therefore this type of yoghurt cannot be considered probiotic. By definition, probiotic bacteria act in the intestines and are resistant enough to reach the intestines. Naturally, regular yoghurts are still a very healthy food product and probiotic yoghurts are a type of upgrade. Probiotic yoghurts mainly help to regulate the intestinal microflora, strengthen the immune system and reduce the risk of gastrointestinal diseases. Their most direct effects are improved metabolism and the absorption of nutritional substances, therefore reducing indigestion and its consequences. The most common probiotic cultures in probiotic yoghurt are Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus casei.
Almost all probiotic yoghurts available on our market are produced from homogenised milk and take more calcium from the body than they contain, thus additionally increasing the acidity of the body. If you have diarrhoea or other problems with digestion, fermented milk drinks can only make them worse. Dairy Krepko, however, produces probiotic yoghurts from non-homogenised milk.
Kefir is one of the oldest types of fermented milk, originating from the Caucasus. It is a sour, slightly alcoholic and refreshing milk drink with probiotic qualities. Kefir is produced by lactic acid and alcohol fermentation, owing to the diverse microflora of kefir grains. Kefir grains represent the symbiotic system of lactic and acetic acid bacteria and yeasts. The lactic acid fermentation is induced by lactic acid bacteria, while alcohol fermentation is induced by yeasts. The activity of the enzymes in lactic acid bacteria converts lactose into lactic acid and the enzymes in yeasts produce CO2 and ethanol.
In the past, kefir was produced with kefir grains. Today’s modern technology makes it possible to avoid the use of kefir grains in the production process. Lyophilised starter cultures are therefore available but contain only the bacteria and yeasts most commonly found in kefir grains and not the whole possible spectre. The flavour of the drink obtained by this method is similar to that of traditionally-produced kefir. However, without cultivating traditional kefir grains, many natural substances that are produced and released into the medium only by kefir grains are not contained in the final commercial product (e.g. the water-soluble polysaccharide kefiran). Furthermore, kefir produced from lyophilised cultures is missing numerous interrelated protection factors that have proven to inhibit the growth of pathogenic microflora in the intestines.
Dairy Krepko, however, is one of the rare dairy producers to produce kefir by the traditional method with kefir grains.
Kefir can be made in several ways. The production processes vary mainly in the use of the starter culture. The starter culture used in the production of kefir can be either kefir grains or lyophilised forms of vaccine. The prevailing method in the industry today is the use of lyophilised forms of vaccine, mainly because of the simple application, cheaper technological process and greater production volume. Dairy Krepko, on the other hand, is one of the rare dairy producers to produce kefir by the traditional method using kefir grains. Kefir made with lyophilised starter cultures contains only the bacteria and yeasts most commonly found in kefir grains and not the whole possible spectre. The flavour of the drink obtained by this method is similar to that of traditionally-produced kefir. However, without cultivating traditional kefir grains, many natural substances that are produced and released into the medium only by kefir grains are not contained in the final commercial product (e.g. the water-soluble polysaccharide kefiran). Furthermore, kefir produced from lyophilised cultures is missing numerous interrelated protection factors that have proven to inhibit the growth of pathogenic microflora in the intestines.
Traditional kefir is produced by using kefir grains, which represent the symbiotic system of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts. Milk sugar or lactose is decomposed during the fermentation process, producing natural CO2 that causes the lid to inflate and many buyers may wrongly assume that the product is bad. An inflated lid is thus the consequence of natural processes and the sign of quality, as the lid can only inflate with traditional kefir and not the kefir made with lyophilised culture. CO2 gives the kefir a refreshing and slightly frothy taste that is very appreciated among consumers.