QAI Organic Nibbles – Organic Certification in Canada

QAI Organic Nibbles – Organic Certification in Canada


I’m really into Kombucha right now. Yeah.
So, I make my own but I’m also, you know, trying different organic Kombuchas out there, which is really cool. My name is Roxanne Beavers. I’m a reviewer,
and I’m based in Canada. I’m gonna talk about certifying organic in Canada.
So, COR, which is kind of colloquial; it’s the Canada Organic Regime.
That really is made up of the Canadian organic standard and permitted
substances list, so two documents and then the organic products regulations,
and so all of those things together sort of govern how organic is managed in Canada.
The standard describes the processes you would follow in your operation if
you were a farmer or a processor. And the permitted substances list–it includes
things like ingredients, inputs, and even things like cleaners, sanitizers–the
things that you can use that are permitted for organic production.
So, we have the standard, the PSL, and then the regulation. Then, because
we don’t change the standard very frequently in Canada, there’s
another group called the Standards Interpretation Committee, and they issue
responses to questions… more interpretations of the standards, so
that’s a really useful thing to be aware of. All of those are posted on the
Organic Federation of Canada’s website. And they’re actually mandatory parts of
the regime as well. There are different types of certificates in Canada, which is kind of unique to our country, and there’s three different types to be
aware of. So, the first one: if you’re growing crops or raising livestock or if
you’re making an organic product, you would get an Organic Product Certificate.
If you are only repacking something, not changing it at all, not reprocessing it,
or if you’re putting a label on something, then you get a different kind
of certificate called an Organic Packing and Labeling Certificate. And if you are
providing a service for somebody, but you don’t actually own the product, you get
something called an Attestation of Compliance. This one is a voluntary doc…
it’s a voluntary process, I guess, so you would see it for somebody who might be
like a seed cleaner, who might take grain from somebody clean it and return it to
them. They don’t own the product, but they do provide a service and so this is a
way to just regulate and oversee the processes they’re doing to
make sure organic integrity is preserved. In Canada, our regulations only cover
basically agricultural products: things that are food and animal feed, livestock
feed, and then plants actually as well. So it doesn’t cover things like textiles or
pet foods. It doesn’t cover cosmetics, and it also doesn’t cover natural health
products, so all of those things are outside of the scope of organic
certification in Canada. It may be possible to certify them to a different
regime within Canada though, so you can always ask QAI about that. One thing to be aware of is that you have a three year transition period, and then in
that last year of transition for people who are growing crops or raising
livestock, you need to be under the supervision of a certifier, and you
actually have to have your application in 15 months before you plan to market
your crops, so this is an important thing to be aware of if you are doing,
say, something like maple syrup to make sure that you have it way in advance.
So, you’re gonna have a certain inspection in that transitional year. You’re gonna
have an inspection before you get your certificate, so you could have two
inspections prior to being able to sell your product as organic. That doesn’t
apply to, you know, containerized greenhouses, or processors, or in some
cases, livestock. For processors, another unique aspect of the Canadian organic standard is that they actually have a list of cleaners and sanitizers that
they prefer that you use. So, these are things that potentially have less impact,
they’re kind of the preferred organic choices. If, as a processor, you can’t use
those to clean your equipment, if, you know, for whatever reason your equipment
isn’t getting cleaned properly, you can apply and get special permission
basically to use a different cleaner or sanitizer. We have a really detailed
amount of information about livestock: stocking rates and feed and
all kinds of livestock, you know, rabbits…it’s a it’s a very detailed standard. There’s a couple of special sections to be aware of in the standard. So apiculture: bees and honey and bee products–maple syrup, greenhouses, sprouts,
and microgreens…I’m gonna forget one… …mushrooms. So, if you’re producing any of
these things, or if you’re making products with these ingredients, just
check that section of the standard to make sure everything–you’re following all
those rules because they don’t always jump out if you don’t read that section. The last thing would be that our standard is different than the US standard, but
there’s a couple of things that they’ve determined need to be checked if
you’re importing American ingredients into Canada. We don’t allow the use of
Chilean nitrate at all, which is permitted under the NOP, and we also
don’t allow products from hydroponics, so those are the two major issues between
our countries equivalency arrangement. If you’re importing those ingredients, you
need to make sure that those two things are attested to if you’re bringing in
product from the States. you

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