Alberta legislates organic labelling

March 31, 2019
Written by Organic Alberta (edited)
Alberta is taking steps to ensure accuracy in organic labelling.

Effective April 1, 2019, the Supporting Alberta’s Local Food Sector Act will come into effect. Any Alberta-produced agricultural products sold or labelled as organic in Alberta must be certified through a third-party certification body, and in accordance with the federal Organic Products Regulations.

Uncertified producers and processors must submit an application to the certifying body who will review the application. If the operation is in compliance with the standard, an inspector will conduct a site visit and submit a report to the certifying body. If the certifying body finds the farm or processor in compliance with the Canadian Organic Standard (COS), it will issue an organic certificate listing the farm’s organic products. The process is repeated annually.

Even though Albertans are becoming increasingly knowledgeable about their food, there is still considerable confusion and mistrust about what defines organic. "In Alberta 74 per cent of all Albertans buy organic, but one of the things that we often hear is how do I really know that it is organic, how do I trust it? Now because of the legislation, all Albertans can have complete confidence that all local food that says it is organic meets the stringent federal organic standards that are regulated by CFIA," says Becky Lipton, executive director of Organic Alberta. "You can trust the label, it's the law."

Over the next few months, Organic Alberta will be rolling out a consumer education program. The goal is to provide Albertan's with a credible resource to Get the Facts about all things organic. "We know that Albertans are very interested to learn more about organics and I am very excited about the opportunity to share the facts. Organics includes so much more than just no synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, such as non-GMO, animal welfare standards etc. This education campaign will delve into those details."

Organic Alberta represents more than 600 organic producers and processors in Alberta as well as over 100 businesses across the organic community.

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