Two-thirds of the foods labeled organic carry some detectable level of pesticide residues, according to information collected by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Forty-four per cent had none, which compares with 29 per cent for commercially-grown foods, presumably with the help of pesticides.
But Canadian-grown food fares poorly compared with imports; 70 per cent of the commercially-grown foods had no detectable pesticide residues, but for organics it was only 56 per cent.
Six of the imported organics had more pesticide residue than the Canadian maximums allowed.
According to a briefing note that Stephen Norman of the Food Safety Directorate prepared for Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAaulay last August, “25 per cent of organic samples contained detectable residues with some levels exceeding Canadian regulations.”
But a summary of hundreds of pages of information from the CFIA files indicates it's more like two-thirds because only 44 per cent had no detectable levels of pesticide residues.
There is no indication of what happened in follow-up to the test results that found residues beyond Canadian regulatory limits.
The information was released in response to a Quebec journalist’s application under Access to Information and it indicates that MacAulay was fully briefed before officials responded to the reporter’s application.