Bio-Canada : les nouveaux règlements sur les produits biologiques

Il a toujours existé beaucoup de confusion à propos de la véritable signification du mot "biologique".  Récemment, le gouvernement canadien a publié l'ébauche de ses "Règlements sur les produits biologiques".  

Selon ces règlements, les produits biologiques canadiens devront atteindre des normes obligatoires et devront être garantis par un organisme de d'accréditation.  Ces produits pourront aussi porter le label facultatif "Biologique Canada", qui permettra aux consommateurs canadiens d'avoir plus confiance aux produits biologiques qu'ils achètent. Ces nouveaux règlements vont aussi s'appliquer aux importations canadiennes et garantir la valeur de nos produits sur nos marchés d'exportation.

What defines organic agriculture?
Organic agriculture bans the use of synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, and genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) and focuses on having healthy soils and animals. Organically produced foods do not include artificial additives, preservatives, or colouring. Certified organic farms and processors must follow a regulated set of standards, undergo an annual third-party inspection, and maintain a detailed audit trail of their operations. For more information on organic food and organic certification in Atlantic Canada, click here.

 

The Organic Products Regulation
The Organic Products Regulation is the result of extensive consultations with organic farmers, processors, certification bodies, and organic importers and exporters, in response to consumer concern and confusion over the meaning of the word "organic." The new regulation aims to provide consumers with an easily recognizable logo to identify food which is certified as "Canada Organic" and meets a mandatory standard of organic food production. It will also monitor organically labeled food coming into Canada. The Organic Products Regulation is available online.

 

Canada organic:
The new organic regulation

Matthew Holmes
Acting Director
Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network
December 2006

rganic stakeholders and representative groups across the country applaud!  On September 2, 2006, the federal government released its proposed "Organic Products Regulation" - a draft regulation that, once enacted, will control the definition and marketing of organic products in Canada for the first time. Janine Gibson, president of the Canadian Organic Growers, said, "The organic regulation will help put Canadian agriculture on the path towards sustainability."

Alan Stewart, president of the Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network (ACORN) commented that it's important to have a clear idea of what organic means, particularly in Atlantic Canada, where "local and family-run farms are generally supported by the community... thus it makes a lot of sense to look at friendlier and more sustainable ways to farm."


Organic farmer David Cozac of Big Sky Farm.
(photo: Matthew Holmes)

Consumers have long known that organics mean a more sustainable and healthier way of growing food - for consumers, for farmers and for the environment - but there's historically been a lot of confusion about what "organic" really means, and whether you can trust a label that states the product is organic.

The new regulations are meant to change all of that. The use of the word organic will be controlled and defined. Once the regulation has been enacted (the government plans to have everything in place by the New Year), Canadian organic products will have to meet mandatory standards (which govern production methods and control the use of certain substances) and will have to be guaranteed by a certifying body. Products will also be able to carry the optional "Biologique Canada Organic" label, which will make it easier for Canadian consumers to feel confident in the organic products they buy. The new regulation will also govern imports to Canada and ensure that Canada's organic export markets recognize the validity of our products. (The EU, Japan, and the US are all big buyers of Canadian organics).


The "Biologique Canada Organic" label.

Imports and exports are one thing, but as many of the readers of Elements have recently discussed on an online forum, choosing local food is also an important part of a sustainable food system, particularly when questions of food safety come into the picture, as they recently have.

Recent food safety scares have highlighted two things: that these scares are no longer uncommon, and that organic food has been implicated in some of them. As Atlantic Canadians, we have an opportunity to reflect on this situation as we decide what food to eat or how to grow it. One thing is for certain: the mass production and distribution of food, both organic and non-organic, contribute to widespread food safety threats to large numbers of people when contamination does occur.

ACORN, as the voice of organics in Atlantic Canada, advocates local organic food systems by encouraging the family farm model, by encouraging the production of a diversity of products (as opposed to a monoculture approach) and by encouraging consumers to demand that their super markets carry organic food that has been grown in Atlantic Canada.

With this in mind, ACORN has made available free to the public a searchable online directory so that you can find the local organic food you want. It's a great tool for everything from organic apples to organic zebra, fresh from the farm (okay... maybe not zebras). You can search by province or key word and the database provides you with the direct contact information for your local organic farmer-growing great food right in your backyard. To try it out, visit www.acornorganic.org and click on "Organic Directory".