Slipping quietly under the news radar this past week, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has certified new regulations for organic food that require food producers to comply with country-wide standards.
Under the new regulations, products must be a minimum of 95% organic to be able to be advertised as such (terms include organic, organically grown, organically raised, organically produced, or other similar labels or abbreviations).
Produce will have to be 100% organic to bear the new logo, while prepared or processed foods must be made from at least 95% organic ingredients. Products with between 70 – 95% organic ingredients may list their ingredients as being organic, but may not use the logo.
The standards apply not only to food and drink intended for human consumption, but also includes livestock, livestock feed and the cultivation of plants.
The new requirement will apply to both domestic and imported products, but US products will not be expected to undergo re-certification if they already meet US organic standards. Products already certified under the US system will bear the logos of both the CFIA stamp and the USDA logo.
Until now, organic standards were sporadic and inconsistent from province to province, with only British Columbia and Quebec having their own mandatory regulations. Elsewhere in Canada, many producers simply worked voluntarily to an older set of requirements created in California.
The CFIA sees the new requirements as a level playing field for all producers, and organizations that have worked to advocate on behalf of organic growers see the improved regulations as a boon to consumers as the standards should provide them with greater assurance about the quality and value of organic products, as well as offering a clear guideline for producers of organic food.
For more information on Canada’s new organic standards, please visit the Canadian Organic Grower’s website.