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Expect changes to organic standard: OMAFRA

Canada’s organic farmers will want to watch for revisions to the planned “Canada Organic” standard between now and its delayed implementation at the end of June next year.

Hugh Martin, organic crops production program lead for Ontario’s ministry of agriculture, food and rural affairs (OMAFRA) in Guelph, said in a newsletter to organic producers this week that efforts have been underway to revise the standards, including “many edits and clarifications within the standards and some additional substances within the permitted substances list.”

“In most sections I would not expect organic producers and processors to see major changes, but there are some changes,” Martin wrote, adding that the revised standards are expected to be introduced within a few months.

The Canada Organic office of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced in the Canada Gazette in early September that the planned implementation of the federal government’s Canada Organic product regulations has been delayed from Dec. 14 this year to June 30, 2009.

Between now and then, Martin wrote in the province’s “ON Organic” newsletter, the revised regulations and an additional 75-day comment period on those revisions can be expected.

Under the regulations, Martin added, the Canada Organic office will be accrediting certification bodies and “conformity verification” (a.k.a. accreditation) bodies for the new organic regime in Canada. Martin referred organic growers to the website of the Organic Trade Association for a preliminary list of accreditors and certifiers.

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