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READER QUESTIONS

Reader question: How do you get hold of organic food in Sweden?

According to the Swedish Food Agency, anyone who wants to label food as organic needs to be certified and checked by a credible regulatory body. But where do you find organic food in Sweden?

A farmer awaits his customers at a REKO-ring in Malmö.
A farmer awaits his customers at a REKO-ring in Malmö. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

What labels are used for organic food? 

The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation advises people to eat more organic food for a number of reasons: it boosts nature and wildlife; it’s better for the farmers; and it’s a great alternative for people who strive to be climate friendly. But knowing where to find great organic food in Sweden, and what labels to keep an eye out for, can be a bit of a hassle. 

The Swedish Food Agency has the main responsibility for setting the rules on how products should be labelled in Sweden, although the Swedish Board of Agriculture is responsible for the labelling of fresh fruit and vegetables.

According to them, the two most common labels guaranteeing that a product is organic in Sweden is the EU’s organic label (a white leaf on a green background) and the KRAV label. All supermarkets and grocery shops selling fruits and vegetables should also say which country the products come from. 

The most commonly used labels for fish in Sweden are the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), KRAV, and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC). The MSC label is applied to wild fish or seafood from fisheries that have been certified to the MSC Fisheries Standard, which is a set of requirements for sustainable fishing. 

Which supermarkets sell organic food in Sweden?

Organic food is very common in supermarkets across Sweden, you can recognise organic products by the word ekologisk. Some supermarkets also have their own organic food brands, such as Ica’s “I love eco”, Coop’s “Änglamark” or Hemköp’s “Garant Eko”. 

Can I get hold of organic food in other places than supermarkets? 

One common way to get hold of locally produced organic food is through so-called “REKO rings” or REKO-ringar, which link producers of food directly to consumers, normally through Facebook groups.

REKO is a Swedish acronym meaning “real consumption”, invented by the Finnish farmer, Thomas Snellman. 

After finding your local REKO ring, you can view the local farmers, see what they’re selling and place your order.

The producers usually have a certain meeting point and day where they meet up with their customers to deliver the products.

REKO rings usually sell a little bit of everything, and can be found across Sweden.

The first one was formed in 2016, and the movement has grown rapidly since then. In January 2021 there were around 220 active REKO rings with around 800,000 members in different Facebook groups. 

Here is the Facebook page for a REKO-ring in Malmö, here is one in Gothenburg, one in Stockholm, and another in Stockholm

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READER QUESTIONS

When will the new Covid-19 vaccines be available in Sweden?

The European Commission has recently approved three new Covid-19 vaccines, targeting both the original virus and the dominating Omicron variants. When are these expected to be available in Sweden?

When will the new Covid-19 vaccines be available in Sweden?

The first vaccines, approved on September 1st, are the Comirnaty Original/Omicron BA.1 and Spikevax bivalent Original/Omicron BA.1. These are booster vaccines which will be available for those aged 12 and above who have completed one course of the vaccine against Covid-19.

These two vaccines are designed to target the original strain of the virus, SARS-CoV-2, as well as the Omicron BA.1 subvariant.

Deliveries of this vaccine have recently started to arrive in Sweden, although it may take a few weeks before doses have been distributed to each of Sweden’s regions.

The third vaccine, approved on September 12th, is an adapted version of the mRNA Covid-19 vaccine Comirnaty (Pfizer/BioNTech), designed to target the Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 in addition to the original strain of SARS-CoV-2. These are the two variants which have dominated Covid-19 infections in Sweden this summer.

“The vaccine contains half the original vaccine and half of a vaccine for the Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5,” vaccine coordinator Charlotta Bergquist at the Swedish Medical Products Agency told TT newswire.

This vaccine is also a booster vaccine, available to those aged 12 and above who have already completed one full course of Covid-19 vaccination.

The Public Health Agency expect delivery of this second vaccine to commence in October.

You don’t need to wait for the new vaccine

From September 1st, those with an increased risk of severe illness due to Covid-19, as well as pregnant women and those over the age of 65 have been eligible for booster doses of the Covid-19 vaccine in preparation for the autumn and winter season.

However, the Public Health Agency does not recommend that those who are currently eligible for a booster dose wait until the new vaccines have been delivered, rather that they should take their booster dose with the current vaccine as planned.

“People don’t need to wait for the updated vaccines,” Sören Andersson, head of department at the Public Health Agency said.

“We deem them to be equal when it comes to protection against serious illness and death,” he continued.

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