“Is it really organic?”
A chance conversation with a woman today raised a very valid question while we were discussing Maplewood Grange products. She had concerns that products she sees on store shelves are not always as advertised. A very common concern, as more and more products can be found with terms like “organic”.
Previously we’ve talked about the importance of choosing organic. In an age where the marketing of a product is more prevalent, the term “organic” is seen everywhere, making it important to question what you are told.
What does “organic” mean?
It’s not as easy as just claiming to be organic. In Canada, use of the word “organic” on food labelling is regulated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Regulations require that products labelled “organic” must be certified by one of several certifying bodies. Certified products will bear the Canada Organic label:
To earn this label requires that your growing, processing and packaging practices be compliant with Canada’s organic standards. This means no synthetic pesticides, fungicides or herbicides can be used, and adherence to strict auditable processes is required.
According to the CFIA, products in Canada can use the term “organic” if they contain at least 95% organic content. You may even see terms like “organically grown”, “organically raised” or “organically produced” used, which like “organic” must meet the same requirements.
Other terms like “natural” aren’t necessarily regulated but simply marketing lingo, so buyer beware. Also keep in mind that use of organic in a brand name is also not regulated. So for example, Organic Fields Seven Grain Bread does not have to contain the regulated percentage of organic ingredients.
In addition to the Canada Organic label, the CFIA also requires that label must also bear the logo of the body that certified it. This goes for bulk products too.
The best advice I can give is to always look for the certified organic declaration on the package and where possible choose local products. The added benefit is this makes it easier to get to know your farmer and understand where your food comes from. And don’t be afraid to ask questions to ensure you’re getting the product you expect.
For more information, check out this article from The Healthy Shopper, or of course the CFIA website.
What are your thoughts on organic? Feel free to leave a comment.. we’d love to hear from you.