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News Release

Canadian Organic Growers applauds
new organic regulation

For Immediate Release September 5, 2006


OTTAWA, Ontario, Canada (Sept. 5, 2006): Canadian Organic Growers (COG), Canada's largest national organic organization, applauds the Government of Canada's new organic products regulation (available at www.cog.ca).

"The organic regulation will help put Canadian agriculture on the path towards sustainability" said Janine Gibson, COG's national President. "The regulation and the new Canada organic label will not only make it easier for Canadian consumers to identify home grown organic products, it will also create new market opportunities that will bring more farmers into the system. This is good news for both the environment and the consumer."

The organic regulation is the result of an extensive consultation process involving organic farmers, processors, certification bodies and organic exporters and importers. According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the responsible agency, the goal of the national organic regime is to "…facilitate international market access, provide protection to consumers against deceptive and misleading labelling practices and support the further development of the domestic market." (http://canadagazette.gc.ca/partI/2006/20060902/html/regle2-e.html).

"We have been very impressed with the level of consultation with the organic sector throughout the government's regulatory process", said Laura Telford, Executive Director of COG. "The process has been transparent and driven by the interests of the organic sector. We hope that this industry-government
partnership will continue to mature throughout the implementation process and beyond."

Organic food production bans the use of genetically modified organisms, synthetic pesticides and fertilizers and focuses on improving soil fertility. The move to organic will bring a range of environmental benefits
such as clean water and enhanced biodiversity and it will offer consumers greater access to a range of healthy food choices.


QUICK FACTS ABOUT CANADA'S ORGANIC SECTOR

What it is
Organic agriculture is a holistic production system designed to optimize productivity and fitness of diverse communities within the agroecosystem, including soil organisms, plants, livestock and people. The principal goal of organic production is to develop enterprises that are sustainable and harmonious with the environment.


What is isn't
Organic agriculture does not allow the use of:

ø Synthetic pesticides, including fungicides, insecticides, rodenticides, defoliants, desicants and wood preservatives

ø Synthetic fertilizers

ø Materials and products produced from genetic engineering

ø Sewage sludge

ø Synthetic growth regulators (hormones)

ø Synthetic veterinary drugs, including antibiotics and parasiticides

ø Irradiation

ø Synthetic processing substances, aids and ingredients, and additions to food including sulphates, nitrates and nitrites

ø Equipment, packaging materials and storage containers, or bins that contain a synthetic fungicide, preservative or fumigant

ø Genetically modified organisms


Standards and Regulations

Canada has had a national organic standard in place since 1999. Recently, in anticipation of a new federal organic regulation, the organic sector worked with the Canadian General Standards Board to update the national organic standard. Part I (Organic Production Systems General Principles and Management Standards; CAN/CGSB-32.310-2006) details the agricultural practices that are acceptable in organic agriculture production systems, while Part II (Organic Production Systems Permitted Substances Lists;
CAN/CGSB-32.311-2006) lists substances that are permitted for use in organic systems.

Under the proposed organic regulation, organic certification bodies will be accredited by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency based on the recommendation of approved accreditation bodies. Certification bodies are tasked with the job of ensuring that the organic farms or processing facilities that they certify as organic are in compliance with the organic standard. Verification is done by trained independent inspectors who visit the farms or processing facilities annually. The organic standard is available at www.cog.ca

On September 2, 2006, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency pre-published a draft organic regulation. This regulation will enshrine the new organic standard in law and allow for the creation of new federally managed organic office.


Industry Facts

ø Organics is the fastest growing sector in agriculture, with sales increasing at 20% per year

ø In 2005, the last year for which there are statistics, Canada had 3618 certified organic producers. Another 241 farmers were making the transition from conventional to organic farming

ø Saskatchewan is home to close to one-third of all certified organic producers in Canada

ø Over 1.3 million acres (530,919 ha) of land in Canada is used to grow organic food. Another 118,500 acres (47,955 ha) is in transition to certification

ø Organic farm operations reflect the bioregional diversity across the country in the same way as conventional agriculture. For example, the majority of the organic farms on the Prairies are producing grains and pulses, organic dairy producers are found primarily in Ontario and Quebec and most of the certified organic tree fruit production occurs in central British Columbia.

ø Wheat is Canada's largest organic crop with over 187,000 acres (75,816 ha)

ø Organic livestock production is increasing dramatically. From 2004 to 2005, the beef herd increased by 30%, sheep numbers by 19%, layers by 20% and broilers by 56%.

ø The number of certified organic processors and handlers increased by 47% between 2004 and 2005, with the largest increases observed in British Columbia and Quebec. This represents the second year of dramatic growth in the processing sector. Between 2003 and 2004, the number of processors jumped by 48% with most of the gains occurring in Ontario and Manitoba.


FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

Janine Gibson
President
Canadian Organic Growers

Steinbach, Manitoba R5G 1M5
Phone: 204 434-6018

Laura Telford
Executive Director
Canadian Organic Growers

323 Chapel St., Ottawa, ON K1N 7Z2
Phone: 613 216-0741

 

 

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