The Canadian organic sector has been developing national organic standards since the 1990’s with the first standards published in 1999. However, since these standards were voluntary up until June 2009, not all certifying bodies and provinces chose to use the same standards. Canada enacted the federal Organic Products Regulations (OPR) in June 2009. The OPR legally require all organic products in Canada to be certified according to the Canadian Organic Standards (COS) if they are traded across provincial or international borders or use the Canada Organic Logo. This includes having the certification carried out by a certifying body that is accredited by a conformity verification body recognized by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
Organic certification is a rigorous process that requires producers to adhere to a strict set of standards. It can take up to three years to certify part or all of your operation to organic, or if you can attest that no prohibited substances have been used on the land in the last three years, it will take a minimum of 12 months. You can find copies of the Canadian Organic Standards here.
Basics of Organic Production
Organic agriculture is a holistic production system designed to optimize productivity and encourage diversity in the agroecosystem, including soil microorganisms, plants and animals. The basis behind organic farming is to produce products which are made without the use of pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and genetic engineering (GMOs). A major focus of organic farming is to cultivate soil fertility. This can be done by rotating crops to balance nutrients in the soil, composting and using “green” manures to add nitrogen and organic matter to the soil. Many of these practices also serve to discourage pests, keep weeds down and prevent drought and soil erosion.
1. Principle of Health
2. Principle of Ecology
3. Principle of Fairness
4. Principle of Care
Genetically modified products are not required by law to be labeled, so they can be difficult to identify. However there is a list of product ingredients which are often genetically modified. If you see any of the following ingredients on the labels of products you consume, and the ingredient is not labeled as non-GMO or organic, it is likely genetically modified.
- Corn syrup, starch, oil, meal, gluten
- Soy lecithin, protein, flour, isolate and isoflavone
- Sugar (unless it is made from cane)
- Vegetable oil
- Cottonseed oil