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Ottawa, Canada (June 30, 2011)
Canada’s Organic Products Regulations will be fully enforced after June 30, two years after the regulations became law in 2009. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has followed a two-year Stream of Commerce and Enforcement Policy, allowing operators time to become fully compliant with the regulations. During this “phase-in” period, the CFIA managed minor non-compliances through notification and education, requiring correction within reasonable timelines.
“Full compliance with all provisions of the Organic Products Regulations is now mandatory. The Stream of Commerce policy was a great help for organic operators working to bring their documentation and labeling into compliance,” said Matthew Holmes, Executive Director of the Canada Organic Trade Association. “Now products labeled as ‘organic’ in Canada and subject to the regulations must be certified by a CFIA-accredited certification body, and all organic product labels must carry the name of the certifier.”
The CFIA consulted with the organic sector to build upon the pre-existing industry self-regulated standards. The 2009 regulations made Canada's organic standards mandatory for both domestic and imported products, and launched the now familiar “Biologique Canada Organic” logo, which allows consumers to identify products that meet Canada's organic requirements. The CFIA oversees and enforces the organic certification system, as well as organic claims in the marketplace. Now in full effect, the Organic Products Regulations have leveled the playing field and given both domestic and foreign consumers confidence in the organic label.
In addition to providing consumers with confidence at home, the Canadian organic system is trusted by our two major trading partners: the United States and Europe. In 2009, Canada and the U.S. announced the world’s first organic equivalency agreement, which allows for trade of organic products between the two countries. In June 2011, the European Union added Canada to its “third country list,” recognizing Canadian organic products and certification as valid for import into the EU.
“Recognition of Canada's organic standards by both the EU and U.S. shows that our standards are among the best in the world, assuring consumers that strong organic standards have been followed, while eliminating the burdensome costs of multiple organic certifications now carried by farmers, processors and traders," Holmes said.
The Canada Organic Trade Association ( www.ota.com/otacanada.html ) is the membership-based trade association for the organic sector in Canada. With the Organic Trade Association, COTA advocates for organic agriculture and products throughout North America. Their combined membership include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers' associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others throughout the U.S. and Canada. Their shared mission is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy.
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