What Does Organic Mean?
The “Canada Organic • Biologique Canada” mark is a small symbol that carries a big message.
It verifies that the food bearing this logo is produced under rigorous organic standards regulated by the Government of Canada. It also represents good health, nutritious food and environmentally-beneficial practices. It’s a sign of goodness, and your best guarantee that a product is truly organic!
Organic means that a food or fibre product has been grown and made without the use of GMOs or nanotechnology, artificial preservatives and colours, synthetic chemicals, herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, sewage sludge or irradiation. But it’s much more than that, it also about:
- Improving soil health and promoting essential soil micro-biology
- Rotating crops to balance nutrients in the soil, no mono-cropping
- Using plough-down crops to add nitrogen & organic matter to the soil to suppress weeds and reduce drought and soil erosion
- Promoting wildlife diversity
- Keeping detailed records which provide the means for complete food traceability from field to plate
- Humane treatment and handling of animals including outdoor access
- Using beneficial insects or mechanical methods to control weeds & pests
Organic certification is validated annually by an on-site, independent third-party quality assurance system that audits a detailed paper trail listing farmers, processors, transporters and wholesalers that may have handled any part of the organic product. The processes and systems within each business are also verified to ensure they adhere to specific organic standards that are regulated by the government.
The system of organic certification began in the 1970’s as a response to consumer concerns that the organic products they were buying might not legitimately be organic. Since consumers no longer had a direct relationship with farmers as they did in earlier times, they couldn’t be sure of the organic purity of their food purchase. Organic certification was, and continues to be, a means to verify that products are produced according to a strictly defined and controlled set of internationally recognized regulations and protocols.
To be able to use the “Canada Organic • Biologique Canada” seal on a product, growers and makers must follow agricultural and production methods that minimize the disruption of the natural environment, encourage the health and vitality of the soil, promote humane animal management and preserve overall ecological integrity. In other words, organic means:
- No synthetic pesticides
- No synthetic preservatives or artificial colours
- No chemical fertilizers or sewage sludge
- No hormones or antibiotics
- No GMOs (genetically modified organisms)
- Humane treatment of animals
- Preservation of ecological integrity
- Complete traceability from the field to the plate
Canada Introduces National Standard For Organic Agriculture
In 1999 the Government of Canada unveiled a National Standard of Canada for Organic Agriculture – a step that further clarified just what “organic” means. There are six principles of this National Organic Standard:
- Protect the environment, minimize soil degradation and erosion, decrease pollution and optimize biological productivity.
- Replenish and maintain long-term soil fertility through crop rotation and composting while avoiding the use of synthetic fertilizers.
- Maintain biological diversity for long-term sustainability using strategies for pest management that do not include synthetic pesticides.
- Recycle materials and resources to the greatest extent possible within the enterprise.
- Provide attentive care that promotes the health and behavioral needs of livestock.
- Maintain the integrity of organic food and processed products from initial handling to point of sale. Genetically engineered and/or modified organisms are prohibited.
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