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APRIL 22, 2005

Organic Industry and Government Agree
on Need for Organic Regulation

A delegation of leaders of the organic sector from across Canada met withthe Honourable Andy Mitchell, Minister for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada yesterday to request that the Minister establish a regulation for organic food in Canada.

The Minister agreed on the need for a regulation and said his department is prepared to work as quickly as possible to make this happen. He noted that his officials have already made substantial progress since they
formed the federal Organic Task Force in November 2004. Mitchell recognized the phenomenal growth rate in the industry and the importance of taking advantage of market opportunities.

Organic products are the fastest-growing sector in the food industry today, with consumer demand continuing to rise. The market opportunities are bigger than Canada's organic producers can supply. While most products labelled organic are certified by accredited organic certification agents, there is no federal regulation to ensure these products adhere to Canada's organic standard.

Participants also discussed the need for equivalence and mutual recognition agreements between trading partners. According to Paddy Doherty, coordinator of the Organic Regulatory Committee, the organic
industry body which has been pushing for an organic regulation, "Our industry depends on access to large organic markets such as the European Union and the United States and we need to ensure the integrity of our product at home." The European Union will block access for Canadian organic products if Canada does not regulate its industry this year.

Stephanie Wells of the Organic Trade Association said, "With federal organic regulation, country-to-country trade negotiations will finally be possible."

"This approval is a milestone for the organic sector in Canada" said Debbie Miller, manager of the Organic Crop Improvement Association Canadian office.


For more information, contact members of the Organic Regulatory Committee:

  • Paddy Doherty, Organic Regulatory Committee, (250) 747-3287
  • Stephanie Wells, Organic Trade Association, (613) 263-0575
  • Debbie Miller, OCIA Canada, (306) 642-0216
  • J. Wallace Hamm, OCCP/Pro-Cert Canada, (306) 382-1299
  • Clark Phillips, Atlantic Canada Regional Organic Network, (506) 433-3935
  • Laura Telford, Canadian Organic Growers, (613) 216-0742

Laura Telford, Ph.D.,
Executive Director,
Canadian Organic Growers
323 Chapel Street, Ottawa, K1N 7Z2
Ph: (613) 216-0742 Fax: (613) 236-0743
Cell: (613) 324-2850

Check out COG's new on-line directory of organics at www.cogdir.ca

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