Certified Organic means Non-GMO and Beyond!
Celebrate Organic Week with PACS – September 9 – 15, 2019
Extra-Extra, read all about it... being “certified organic” means non-GMO and beyond!
This is old news, but let’s keep spreading the word to continue educating consumers.
We think it really comes down to continuing to educate the public about the value of certified organic products. Being certified organic means products are non-GMO. However, it’s so much more than just that. One has to return to the principles that are in the Organic Standards to get a fuller picture. Having organic certification means the certificate holder subscribes to the principles of health (in soil, plants, animals, humans),ecology (working with and sustaining living ecological systems and cycles), fairness (building on relationships respecting the common environment and life opportunities), and care (managing agriculture in a responsible manner for current and future generations and the environment).
Consumers are becoming more and more aware these days about the health benefits that are connected to the foods they are offering their families. In particular, they are looking for ways to avoid genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Perhaps one day we will see mandatory labelling on food indicating the presence of GMOs. For now, we can avoid foods that are genetically engineered by selecting “Certified Organic” products knowing they are, by definition, non-GMO. However, the reverse is not true: non-GMO products does not mean they are certified organic products.
Certified organic farms and processors are required to follow approved methods in order to achieve organic certification. These operators follow a site-specific organic system plan and are inspected annually by a third-party organic verification officer to ensure compliance. The PACS monitors each operator all year, not just at inspection time, including communications to and from the PACS office to approve labels, inputs, etc. to ensure compliance to the Organic Standards, as well as answering other questions to ensure organic integrity is adhered to. In order to fulfill the Canada Organic Regime (COR) and Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR), farmers and processors must demonstrate that they aren’t using genetic engineering in any part of their production and are utilizing approved practices to develop their products or cultivate their crops.
So, what have we learned? When you look at a label or product bearing a “Certified Organic” claim, you can rest assured that this product is in compliance and has met the following requirements:
- Annual certification verification and compliance is maintained
- No genetic engineering in any aspect of farming or processing
- No use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides
- No synthetic drugs or reproductive or growth hormone use for livestock and no antibiotics in meat animals
- Requires livestock to consume only certified organic feed and pasture
- No synthetic colouring, flavouring and preservatives
- Regulated and monitored by our government authority, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
Now when you are comparing products at the grocery store, keep this in mind: If a product is certified organic, it is also Non-GMO! Remember, organic products are produced without the use of synthetic chemicals, which are dangerous for farmers, consumers, our land, and our water systems. These extra steps help to promote a sustainable and safe food system. Buying Certified Organic is the best way to avoid purchasing products that contain GMO and other undesirable ingredients!
To lean more about the steps to become certified with PACS you can follow this link to the PACS learn page
To learn more about organic labelling requirements you can follow this link to the CFIAs Directive 10-05: Labelling of organic products under COR.