No Cause for Alarm in CFIA Findings says Organic Federation of Canada

December 8, 2011

No Cause for Alarm in CFIA Findings says Organic Federation of Canada

(Guelph, ON)- The President of the Organic Federation of Canada, the group representing Canada’s 4000 organic farmers, processors and traders, responded today to reports that tests conducted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) had detected traces of pesticide residue in organic food. 

Ted Zettel, himself an organic farmer for 29 years and now General Manager of Organic Meadow Cooperative, is not surprised or alarmed at these results.  “The fact is that while organic farmers cannot use chemical shortcuts under the strictly defined standards enforced by CFIA, they persist in the environment, the result of widespread use in mainstream agriculture.  The water and the air that we all share are to some extent polluted. So while the level of contamination is much smaller with organic food, which is grown without these toxins, we cannot guarantee that they will be 100% pure.” 

But, according to Zettel, that shouldn’t put off organic food consumers because the larger health benefits derived from eating organically have to do with good things that come along with food grown within a balanced, healthy ecosystem not dependent on pesticides, chemical fertilizers or genetically modified seeds. 

“The organic farm is built on a plan to nourish the soil and optimize production, using methods that mimic those in natural systems.  Our customers know that these principles, on top of being environmentally sustainable, are the foundation for a healthy diet.  Our farms build health from the ground up.  Healthy soils, healthy plants, healthy animals, healthy people -- it’s all connected,” Zettel said.

When asked what consumers who are worried about pesticide residues in their food should do, Zettel responded, “Buy organic. The more farms that convert to organic production, the less toxins are used.”

Zettel believes that the federal regulation of organic food enforced by CFIA is a good thing for farmers and consumers alike.  He said the internationally agreed-upon standards will eventually serve to distinguish the solid claims of the organic food industry from “tag-along unregulated and undefined claims” such as “natural” or “free-from.”

“Canadians should know that the only designation with a legislated standard and government enforced certification is organic,” Zettel added. “If you want clean food, settle for nothing less.”

Media Contact:
David Holmes – 416-628-5605

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