Organically Speaking

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Like any healthy relationship organic gets better the more you get to know it. As we wrap up celebrating organic week (from September 16th to the 24th) it feels like a good time to break down the difference between the term “organic” and “natural.”

When you see an “organic” claim on a label you know it’s heavily regulated and farmers and producers are held accountable for the foods they’re feeding to consumers. While “natural” is a marketing term used by companies based on their own definition of what “natural” is. Generally speaking, the term “natural” really only refers to any major structural changes made to foods or ingredients. So, what exactly is regulated by the Canadian government in order for a food to meet all the requirements for an organic label?

  • Farm to fork traceability
  • Mandatory annual third-party inspections
  • Prohibits GMOs in seed, feed and ingredients
  • Prohibits synthetic persistent pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or fertilizers
  • Encourages biodiversity; protects clean air, water, wildlife
  • Reduced reliance on fossil fuels
  • Prohibits growth hormones, routine use of antibiotics, animal cloning

Although organic promotes sustainability, organic certification can be a financial hardship for small-scale family farms. This is where getting to know your local producers and farmers come into play. There are multiple smaller farming operations that follow more sustainable farming principles but are short on the funds it takes to reach certification. You’re going to get sick of me saying this but in a nut shell know where your food came from!   

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