The organic food industry is growing by 10% every year.
11 Facts About Organic Food
- Organic is a way of growing agricultural products or raising livestock. The processes used uphold the integrity of the farm and follow a high set of standards that guarantees specific practices are used for both food and non-food products.
- For organic agricultural products, the organic label assures that the foods were grown without the use of toxins like pesticides and fertilizers.
- Organic livestock must be grown without the use of synthetic hormones, antibiotics, genetic engineering, or cloning, and are minimally processed without artificial ingredients, preservatives, or irradiation.
- Packages that contain the USDA Organic seal may have up to 100 percent organic ingredients included.
- While there is questionable evidence that organic foods are more nutritious than non-organic foods, organic foods do spare the consumer from ingesting numerous toxic pesticides. These chemicals have been linked to cancer and other diseases.
- The organic food industry is growing exponentially from $1 billion in 1990 to $29.22 billion in 2011. Recently, the industry is growing roughly 10 percent every year.
- Products labeled “organic” may reflect higher prices because the production process is often on a smaller scale with more labor- and management-intensive practices and stricter regulations.
- Organic animals are often subject to the same torture as factory farming animals, minus the medicine, antibiotics, and other drugs.
- While consumers reach for packages labeled “free range”, “natural”, or “organic”, it does not guarantee that the animals were treated properly. Most live in cramped cages amongst their waste, are subject to mutilation (dehorning, debeaking, castration), and are sent to factory feedlots to be fattened prior to slaughtering.
- According to PETA, “natural” is virtually a meaningless word when labeled on meat packaging. It does not mean that the product is organic, rather is is free of artificial ingredients or added coloring.
- There are nearly 40 non-organic ingredients that are allowed by the USDA to be included in organic packages.
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Labelling of Organic Products – Questions and Answers
The Organic Products Regulations, 2009 (the Regulations), came in force on June 30, 2009. Products marketed as organic in interprovincial and international trade, or bearing the organic agricultural product legend must comply with the regulations.
Q1 What organic claims are permitted?
- Only products with organic content that is greater than or equal to 95% may be labelled as: “Organic” or bear the “organic” logo. These products must be certified and the name of the Certification Body must appear on the label.
- Multi-ingredient products with 70-95% organic content may have the declaration: “contains x% organic ingredients”. These products may not use the organic logo and/or the claim “Organic”. These products must be certified and the name of the Certification Body must appear on the label.
- Multi-ingredient products with less than 70% “organic” content may only contain organic claims in the product’s ingredient list. These products do not require certification and may not use the “organic” logo. However, the organic ingredients contained within these products must be certified.
Products that make an “organic” claim must be certified by a Certification Body that has been accredited, based upon the recommendation of a CFIA designated Conformity Verification Body.
Q2 Is the claim “Permitted for use in organic agriculture” permitted for agricultural inputs or ingredients?
Any product listed in the Canadian General Standards Boards Organic Production Systems Permitted Substances Lists (CAN/CGSB 32.311, hereinafter referred to as the “Permitted Substances List”) may be used in organic agriculture provided it meets the origin and usage stipulations of the Permitted Substances List.
This type of claim is not one of the organic claims permitted under the Organic Products Regulations, 2009. In addition, there is currently no program in place for certification bodies to certify a product, comprised of inputs from the Permitted Substances List, as approved for use in organic agriculture. Some inputs have restrictions on their use which would not be accurately reflected in such a “certification”.
Q3 Is the claim “Permitted for use in organic agriculture” permitted for minerals included in animal feeds?
Any product listed in the Permitted Substances List may be used in organic agriculture provided it meets the origin and usage stipulations of the Permitted Substances List.
At this time there is no Canadian list of individual products or brands that have been approved for use in organic agriculture. Therefore, feeds or feed ingredients may not make a label claim that they are “approved for use in organic agriculture” or “certified approved for use in organic agriculture by xx certification body”.
Feeds also may not claim to be listed or approved by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI). OMRI is a United States based system which has a different standard and Permitted Substance List than that of Canada.
Q4 Can organic products with an organic content greater than 95% make the claim 97% organic ingredients?
The Regulations permit products with an organic content of 95% or more to be labelled as organic. Organic products with an organic content of less than 95% are permitted to bear the claim “x% organic ingredients”.
Section 24 (1) of the Regulations allows for claims to include similar words to organic. Claims such as “97% organic ingredients” are acceptable under this provision.
Q5 Is the claim “Made with organic x” permitted?
This claim is not permitted as it does not indicate the actual organic content of the product. Products with an organic content of 70% to less than 95% may bear the claim “x% organic ingredients”.
Q6 Is the claim “100% organic” permitted?
The “100% organic” This claim is not permitted in Canada. All products with an organic content of 95% or greater are considered organic and may be labelled with the word organic.
Q7 Is the claim “Certified Organic” permitted?
As all organic products, under the Canada Organic Regime, must be certified by a Canadian Food Inspection Agency accredited certification body, products bearing the claim “certified organic” are considered misleading. Having only some products labelled “certified organic”, while others aren’t, may mislead consumers into believing that products not bearing this claim are not certified.
The statement “Certified by” or “Certified organic by” immediately followed by the name of the certification body is acceptable as it denotes who has certified the product.
Q8 How may I obtain a copy of the Organic Logo so that I may place on my product label?
The Canadian Organic Logo is available to organic operators through Canadian Food Inspection Agency accredited Certification Bodies.
A list of Certification Bodies that have either: been accredited by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to certify organic products; or recognised under an organic trade arrangement with a foreign competent authority under the Regulations may be found here:
Q9 May I use the Organic Logo in my advertising?
Use of the logo for purposed other than to represent a product as organic will be permitted on a case by case basis. Persons wishing to use the logo will need to apply to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s Canada Organic Office for permission (approval). Requests for an application for permission to use the Canada Organic Logo may be sent to the Canada Organic Office.
Q10 What organic claims are permitted on displays of bulk product?
If an organic claim is made on a Price Look-Up (PLU) sticker then the name of the certification body must also appear on the PLU sticker (label). If the Organic Logo is on the PLU sticker, the statement “Product of” immediately preceding the country of origin or the statement “Imported from” must be in close proximity to the logo.
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