Organic is Guaranteed
Organic certification is for you, the eater. You want food that’s been grown in a way that supports the well-being of the environment, animals and people but, unless you’re growing the food yourself, how do you know? When you purchase organic, the production system, from start to finish, has been monitored. Organic certification is your guarantee that the food has been produced according to strict organic standards.
Farmers growing organic food must go through a rigorous certification process. Each year, inspectors visit farms and review records to ensure that farmers are following the rules laid out in the Canadian Organic Standards. If the food is processed, the processor must also be certified organic.
The same regulations apply across Canada and are part of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations monitored by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Regulation of organic food has been in place since 2009. Regulation of organic aquaculture products was added in 2021.
Once certification is granted, the farmer or processor can legally sell their food as “organic”. In fact, it is illegal to market food as “organic” if it is not certified as such. Packaged foods must display the logo of the certifying body and may also display the Canada Organic Logo. For examples of certifying body logos, see Did You Know? below.
When food is not packaged, like at a Farmers’ Market, the seller must have the organic certification certificate onhand in case a customer asks for verification.
Organic products imported from outside Canada must meet the same strict requirements. The production practices in the country of origin must be certified as equivalent to those outlined in the Canadian Organic Standards.
The Safe Food for Canadians Regulations apply only to food for human consumption, feed for livestock, and seeds for food or feed. The regulations do not apply to items such as pet food, cosmetics, or clothes.
If you want to be sure about how your food was produced, you can feel good about choosing Organic: Food with Principles. Guaranteed.
Did You Know?
If a product is certified organic, you will see the name and/or logo of the certifying body.
Here are a few examples:
If you see the Canada Organic logo, you know the product meets Canadian Organic Standards. Currently, use of the Canada Organic Logo is voluntary; a producer can choose to use it in addition to the mandatory certification agency name or logo. Here is an example package showing both the certifying body (TCO Cert) and the Canada Organic logo.
Did You Know?
The Canadian Organic Standards go far beyond “pesticide-free”.
The Canadian Organic Standards are extensive documents that outline requirements for the whole organic food production system:
Sustaining ecological stability within the farm and surrounding environment
Enhancing soil fertility naturally by recycling nutrients and protecting natural resources
Promoting biological diversity
Providing animals with living conditions that minimize stress and promote good health
Prohibiting synthetic pesticides, fertilizers and GMOs
Prohibiting artificial colors, sweeteners and flavorings
These practices are good for the environment, animals, and people. And they are regulated by law.