Canada Organic Regime: A Certified Choice
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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 define specific requirements for organic products to be labelled as organic or that bear the Canada Organic logo. The regulations came into effect on June 30, 2009. All organic products bearing the Canada Organic logo or represented as organic in interprovincial and international trade must comply with the Organic Products Regulations.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is responsible for the monitoring and enforcement of the Regulations. Under the Canada Organic Regime, Certification Bodies are accredited based on the recommendation of Conformity Verification Bodies that are designated by the CFIA. 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 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 bearing the Canada Organic logo or represented as organic in interprovincial and international trade must comply with the Organic Products Regulations. Owners of products bearing organic claims are expected to demonstrate that the product is organic.
- Only products with organic content that is greater than or equal to 95 per cent may be labelled as: "organic" or bear the Canada Organic logo.
- Multi-ingredient products with 70-95 per cent organic content may have the declaration "contains x% organic ingredients," but may not use the Canada Organic logo and/or the claim "organic".
- Multi-ingredient products with less than 70 per cent organic content may only contain organic claims in the product's ingredient list. These products may not use the Canada Organic logo.
The name of the certification body that certified the product as organic must be displayed on the product label.
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. Quebec, Manitoba and British Columbia currently have organic certification systems in place.
Use of the Canada Organic logo is voluntary.
The logo is only permitted on products that have 95 per cent or more organic content and have 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 Canada Organic 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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