Certified Organic means that a 3rd party comes to inspect your farm every year, to ensure that what you say your doing is in deed what you are actually doing. Every step of the way along the chain of custody also needs to be inspected. Places such as egg grading stations, butchers, abattoirs, packaging facilities, cleaning facilities all need to be inspected to ensure that there are no banned substances used (such as specific harmful cleaners or packages). The concept of a CERTIFIED organic product is that you can trace it back to the very farm, the very date it was born or grown, and processed so that there is accountability. Each farmer must submit any complaints that they have received with certification, we must also maintain testing samples of our soil, our water, and track all sales. What you are buying when you buy certified organic is accountability and integrity.
Ok so now why is this label being undermined? Well for many years there has been no enforcing the labeling or false labeling claims. So CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) got involved to enforce it - this is a good thing. However in actual fact what is happening is that the only things being verified for certification numbers are those products that cross any provincial or federal borders. So now we have a conundrum, we want to buy local food, but anything that is produced in Ontario, processed in Ontario, and then sold in Ontario is not subject to the same scrutiny as those things that cross borders. Essentially you can get "Organic" food everywhere and people can call it that without any consequence if its all kept within the province. What that means is that people are experiencing farms (lets refer to them as pseudo Organic for conversation purposes) that are sub par, and food that is produced in whatever way that farmer sees fit, not verified by a third party and certainly not traceable. So if you are an Organic consumer then make sure that what your buying is CERTIFIED Organic, you can get the certification number and you will be able to find them online depending on the certifying body
Those are 2 of the main certifying bodies in Ontario. Here is a list of all of the certifying bodies in Ontario from OMAFRA Website (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture)
Here is a TEST - check out the image below, and before you read on, think about why you might or might not purchase something with this label.
1) this is enticing because if you are aware of how pervasive GMO's are you'd want to ensure things like corn, cotton, canola and Wheat are organic if nothing else.
2) however this gives zero indication of whether the claim for organic is verified, ESPECIALLY if it has not left the province anyone can produce fun little labels like this.
3) This means the whole product is not organic - that the wheat might be, which is great, but that also means that the package can not be labelled as organic, so if only parts of the product are organic is not required to be processed in an organic facility, so no certifying body will put their stamp of approval on something that is only partially organic. A company may provide the certification number for their organic wheat, but often it is from various sources, so the only way to truly know is if it is stamped ORGANIC by a 3rd party body, but of course the whole product must be organic then, not just parts of it.
Well this is where I give you my pitch for getting to know your farmers, eating simply and building those crucial relationships, because if your farmer is eating organic and treating himself and his or her health by the means of which he professes he does his crops and animals, then that to me is almost a greater seal of approval. I'm not saying CERTIFIED organic is the only way to go, I'm saying that in the absence of a relationship and perhaps a knowledge of farming, certified organic is your best bet and an accountable one with integrity. Come check out -Vibrant Farms Certified organic since 1987