Statement re: Pesticide Contamination in Organic

A recent CBC article states nearly half the organic fresh fruits and vegetables tested across Canada in the past two years contained pesticide residue, according to analysis of data supplied by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

Below is an open letter from OCO member the Canada Organic Trade Association

cota webJanuary 2014

These data confirm what numerous peer-reviewed studies have shown: that organic products have significantly lower rates of pesticide residues, while the few products that do show trace chemicals are at much lower levels than the average for conventional produce.  The data reported by CBC shows that conventional produce is 70% more likely to contain pesticide residues, and conventional products tested above the maximum allowed levels 2.5 times more often than organic.

Test results* published in December show that the level of organophosphate pesticide levels in children in Toronto plummeted as soon as they began eating an organic diet. Unfortunately, agricultural pesticides now contaminate every part of our lives: from our soil and drinking water, to fetal cord blood. We believe firmly that organic is the only option for consumers who wish to reduce their exposure to persistent and synthetic chemical pesticides, herbicides, and GMOs.

Canadian consumers can trust that federal law now governs organic food: all imported and domestic products must meet Canadian standard requirements in order to be sold as organic. In addition to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s inspection and enforcement of organic products on retail shelves, organic farms and processing facilities are subject to regular on-site inspections: making organic products the most scrutinized and controlled foods in our market.

The organic sector expects CFIA to take full enforcement action on any producers shown to have used a prohibited substance on organic products, or any product in the marketplace that fraudulently misrepresents itself as organic.

For many farmers and consumers, organic is much more than the absence of toxic and synthetic pesticides—organic is about the use of humane standards for animals, increasing biodiversity on farms and in nature, and fostering resilient and adaptable plants and soils that reduce our carbon footprint. In addition to all these things, consumers who choose organic know they are choosing products that do not use GMOs, or artificial colours, additives or flavours. Organic is a great choice.

For more information, contact:
Matthew Holmes, Executive Director: 613-482-1717 / [email protected]

Canada Organic Trade Association, January 2014.

The Canada Organic Trade Association is the membership-based trade association for the
organic sector in Canada, representing growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers’
associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others in the
organic value chain. COTA’s mission is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade
to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy.
* Bruce Lourie and Rick Smith: Toxin Toxout. December 2013: Random House Canada.

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