Posted  13 Feb, 2018 
In: Articles

Canada Organic Trade Association’s Summary of response by the CFIA, originally published January 17 in News Flash

On Friday, January 5, 2018, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) published the “What We Heard Report”; the Government’s first official response to the Safe Foods for Canadians Regulation (SFCR) consultation in April of 2017. During last year’s consultation period, the CFIA received 1,717 responses from consumers, industry, academia and, not least of which, the organic sector. The organic sector’s response was well coordinated and the messaging was consistent.

The Report states that:

  • Stakeholders expressed concern about the proposed inclusion of slaughter, storage and conveyance facilities in the scope of organic activities that would be subject to mandatory certification requirements.
  • Stakeholders perceived that a SFCR license was required for organic certification, but licensing is more related to food safety requirements and is separate from organic certification.
  • Stakeholders requested that the mandatory percent of organic content on certificates and the period of validity of organic certificates be removed.
  • The scope of the proposed definition of aquatic plants was met with mixed reactions.

The report does pick up on concerns with the requirement to certify slaughter, storage and conveyance facilities but a number of other concerns submitted were not included in the summary. It is also important to note that the Report is high-level and does not provide any indication on how the CFIA might respond to concerns in the actual Regulation. Unfortunately, as the window for consultation is closed, we must wait for final publication of the Regulations in the Canada Gazette Part II, which is expected this spring. A cautious optimism about the upcoming Regulation, for rules that improve the efficiency and integrity of the organic sector, is recommended.

You can read the full “What We Heard Report” here.

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