Pro-Cert 2012 Listing for the University of Guelph Alfred Campus:
Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Pro-Cert Cancellation of University of Guelph Alfred Campus:
In Ontario Organic Milk Producers are opting out of Organic Certification, in turn they sell their milk to the Local Co-Op Organic Meadow and its rebranded and mixed with Certified Milk Products. Organic Certification costs approx $2000 a year. Organic milk certification exemption is for under $5000 in milk income.
University of Guelph, Alfred may be doing the same thing with their recently cancelled Organic Certification. U of A certifying agent responsible FABRICE ROCHE also works for Organic Meadow
Currently producers who sell product within Ontario do not require certification to label their products organic.
Canada's organic certification comes under attack
Annual organic agricultural sales in Canada exceed $2.6-billion, by recent estimates, with supermarket chains joining alternative stores in stocking an ever-widening array of organic-labelled products.
As the popularity of organic food explodes in Canada, it has drawn new scrutiny that raises questions over its authenticity, meaning and value.
It is the authenticity of organic food labelling that forms the core of an excoriating report this month from the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.
The report argues that Canada's organic certification process is open to fraud and abuse, saying that consumers pay a hefty price for organic foods, whilst the designation requires no evidence.
The Canada Food Inspection Agency did internal spot tests last year and found that nearly 24% of the 178 organic apples they tested contained pesticide residue.
In response to the organic industry’s growth, Canada enacted a labelling requirement: Since 2009, products making an organic claim must be certified by an agency accredited by the Canada Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
Not included in that process, however, is mandatory laboratory testing of products that could ensure organic-labelled food is actually farmed without pesticides, leaving the organics industry in the hands of the honour system.
The organics industry rejects the notion and defends the integrity of its members and the system.
“Organic farmers and processors undergo scrutiny with audits and inspections against Canada’s organic standards. The organic standards in Canada are very robust,” said Stephanie Wells, Senior Regulatory Affairs Advisor with the Canada Organic Trade Association.
The CFIA said organic products are subject to its regular chemical residue monitoring program, along with all other food products. The federal agency, itself, does not provide certification, but rather accredits private businesses to do it.
Publication date: 11/26/2012
Organic Meadows Update 2009
The folks who decide the themes for Field to Fork have bravely decided that this issue will be about certification. Without a doubt, certification generates more frustration than any other issue we deal with on a daily basis. Nobody needs me to create a list of the things we dislike about certification but perhaps a list of the benefits is called for.
As our businesses, be it at Organic Meadow or at your farm, requires consumers, we should start there. Certification is the only guarantee a consumer has that the product they are buying is truly organic. The certifier’s mark and, soon, the Canadian Organic Mark are critically important to most organic consumers. They take certification very seriously.
Retailers count on certification to assure them that the products they sell meet Canadian organic standards and that they will satisfy consumers. Currently retailers are not required to be certified and there is a move afoot to change that. Certifying retailers is a good idea but will be a tough sell in our market.
Processors are required to be certified and they share many of the issues around this with producers. It can be expensive, there is paperwork, there are regular inspections and so on. But, in the end it delivers value and is a key part of product integrity. An interesting side effect is that small processors typically find it easier to become certified.
To sell product in other parts of Canada or for export, producers will be required to be certified under the new national organic standard. And the marketplace virtually requires that certification now, as it has for a number of years. Currently producers who sell product within Ontario do not require certification to label their products organic. The province had intended to rely on labeling legislation to control this but have changed the approach and are looking at a provincial organic standard which matches the federal one. Any encouragement you may want to give your elected representative is more than welcome.
For all the frustration certification causes it is still the only guarantee a consumer has that a product is organic. We sell added value products and certification adds value. So, smile when you are filling out all those papers…
Ontario Government Organic Dairy FactSheet: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/livestock/dairy/facts/10-087.htm