Canada Organic Regime: A Certified Choice
Information for Organic Stakeholders
The Canada Organic Regime is the Government of Canada's response to requests by the organic sector and consumers to develop a regulated system for organic agricultural products. The Organic Products Regulations (the Regulations) define specific requirements for organic products to be labelled as organic or that bear the organic agricultural product legend (logo). The regulations came into effect on June 30, 2009.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is responsible for the monitoring and enforcement of the Regulations. Under the Regime, Certification Bodies are accredited based on the recommendation of CFIA designated Conformity Verification Bodies. The Certification Bodies are responsible for verifying the application of the Canadian Organic Standards.
Why do organic products need regulation?
The Canada Organic Regime has been developed to:
- Protect consumers against misleading or deceptive labelling practices;
- Reduce consumer confusion about the definition of organic;
- Facilitate the access of Canadian organic products to foreign markets that require regulatory oversight; and
- Support further development of the domestic market.
What is an organic product?
An organic product is an agricultural product that has been certified as organic. A product can be certified if it is produced using the methods outlined by the Canadian Organic Standards.
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. The Certification Body must certify the product to the Canadian Organic Standards. The CFIA is working with Conformity Verification Bodies to accredit Certification Bodies under the Canada Organic Regime.
How do products get certified under the new Canada Organic Regime?
Operators must develop an organic production system based on the Canadian Organic Standards and have their products certified by a Certification Body accredited under the Canada Organic Regime.
How do I recognize an organic product?
As of June 30, 2009, any product with an organic claim must comply with the requirements of the Organic Products Regulations.
- Only products with organic content that is greater than or equal to 95% may be labelled as: "Organic" or bear the organic logo.
- 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".
- Multi-ingredient products with less than 70% organic content may only contain organic claims in the product's ingredient list. These products may not use the organic logo.
Certified organic products must also bear the name of the certification body that has certified the product as organic.
Organic products sold within the province of origin are subject to provincial organic regulations, the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Regulations and the Food and Drug Regulations. The provinces of Quebec and British Columbia have organic certification systems in place, while other provinces are considering developing their own system. Owners of products bearing organic claims are expected to demonstrate that the product is organic. All organic products bearing the organic logo or represented as organic in interprovincial and international trade must comply with the Organic Products Regulations.
Use of the organic logo is voluntary.
The logo is only permitted on products that have an organic content that is greater than 95% and has been certified according to Canadian requirements for organic products.
Imported products must meet the requirements of the Canada Organic Regime. Should imported products bear the logo, the statement "Product of", immediately preceding the name of the country of origin, or the statement "Imported from", must appear in close proximity to the logo or the designations.
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