Different values applied to certified foods

Answering three key questions about organic food certification.

To the editor:

I have worked as a senior organic inspector for over 20 years so let me address some of the issues about organic certification outlined in an Oct. 11 letter to the editor of the Capital News. (Organic Food Criticism Needs Scientific Backing.)

Answering three key questions:

1. Can organic certification be trusted? Yes.

2. Is Chinese organic (certification) meeting consumer expectations? No, not yet.

3. Do all organic certifying bodies follow the  same standards? Yes, but…

Organic certification is the gold standard of agri-food production around the world and at three per cent of total food sales, is still worth $60 billion and growing at seven per cent a year.

It deserves a premium over local or natural because it provides food with superior perceived and actual benefits.

The same cannot be said for industrial food with its regular recalls, food-caused illnesses and consumer deaths.

China follows the same paper standards as Canada, but here the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has oversight of the organic certification process, whereas in China other government agencies without the same enforcement powers oversee the process.

The following articles provide details about the frequent pesticide contamination of Chinese organic food:

• Western countries say “NO” to Chinese organic food, Li Ping, July 29, 2011, theepochtimes.com

• Can you trust organic produce from China, Deborah Kota, Dec. 14, 2011, bostonglobe.com

• Questions remain about organic foods grown in China, Jan. 7. 2012, seattletimes.com.

All organic certification bodies (CBs) follow similar production guides and materials lists. But how national programs are supported depends on the country, as we have seen with China.

Some CBs are just for profit, focus on mega corporations for the export market and are at the organic-as-industry extreme of the organic community. They push the limits for money until consumer groups complain and governments step in and some serious enforcement occurs.

I avoid the certifiers who do the biggest corporate organic players.

At the other end of the spectrum are the smaller CBs which focus on the local food market, are run by volunteers, try to educate consumers and transitioning farmers and are part of the organic-as-lifestyle end of the spectrum.

I buy all my food from local certified organic associations of B.C., accredited CBs and I try to stay regionally based.

Robert Dixon,

agricultural technologist,

senior organic inspector


Just Posted

Kelowna mayoral candidates spar over support

Tom Dyas claims Colin Basran’s former campaign manger from seven years ago ‘abandoned’ him

WATCH:Tommy Chong has a special message for Kelowna

Chong was meant to attend a legalization day party that has now been rescheduled

Temporary detour on Boucherie Road detour changes

The detour will be Oct. 19 and 20 for paving

Police search for suspect vehicle after daytime break and enter

The vehicle is an older model, four-door sedan with winter tires on steel rims

Okanagan RCMP look for owners of various keys located during arrest

RCMP seek to reunite the owners of various keys found at the arrest of suspects in a stolen vehicle.

Watch it again: Kelowna mayoral candidates square off

Missing the LIVE Kelowna mayoral debate watch now

MCFD, FPSSS restricts caregivers from smoking, growing cannabis around children-in-care

Ministry restricts cannabis use for caregivers, stating it may “pose a risk to children and youth.”

Cheaper strains sell out within minutes on online BC Cannabis Store

Province says new strains will become available in the coming months

Only 40% of B.C. car dealerships have electric cars available: report

Researchers found buyers frustrated at the lack of options

VIDEO: Millionaire Lottery returns to give back and win big

Since 1996, Millionaire Lottery has raised $52 million for the VGH+UBC Hospital Foundation

Baby boomer buba shares heartfelt novel with Okanagan audience

Pauline Daniel will be at Vernon’s Bookland and library Oct. 20

Test case challenges a politician’s right to block people from Twitter account

3 people say Watson infringed their constitutional right to freedom of expression by blocking them

Vernon Yellowjackets rack up touchdowns but come up short

Interior Pee Wee Football League play

Most Read