Monday, December 31, 2012

CFIA doesn’t test organics with its logo

Mischa Popoff, a research associate at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy and co-author of Canada’s Organic Nightmare, says there’s an organic certifying body in Canada that did no checking to ensure compliance.

He says the certifier, which he does not name, licenced producers as far away as Mexico and China without ever visiting to check their integrity.
Mischa Popoff

And he says the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which accepts certification by a number of bodies, was shocked when it did its own checking.

“When staff at the CFIA finally carried out some secret tests on organic products, they were so taken aback by the results that they actually tried to suppress them,” Dr. Doug Powell reports on his internet service for subscribers.

“A recent in-depth report on the Canadian organic sector published by The Frontier Centre points out that there is no systematic, empirical proof that food certified as organic is purer, tastier or more nutritious,” he writes.

“The politicized privilege to be deemed ‘certified-organic’ in Canada is available to anyone, whether here in Canada or anywhere in the world.

“To qualify, just pay fees and fill out paperwork, even if you’re in China, Mexico or Argentina.

“The honesty of the applicants is not verified.”

Popoff says it would cost 10 times less to test foods that claim to be organically-produced than ‘relying exclusively on paperwork, (but) Canada’s for-profit organic certifiers benefit from highly-lucrative revenues which, in turn, provide donations to activist organic groups which may explain their opposition to testing in spite of support for the idea from rank-and-file Canadian organic farmers.”

In addition to upfront application and inspection fees, organic farmers and processors operating under CFIA rules are forced to pay royalties to their private certifiers between one and three per cent on their gross revenue from each and every transaction, Popoff says.

“It is akin to the franchise fees that fast-food restaurant owners pay to their head offices, with the difference that Canadian organic farmers and processors are paying for the use of the CFIA’s logo on their finished products, not the private certifier’s.

“And yet, the CFIA requires no testing. None,” he says.

The independent inspectors make pre-announced visits once a year to each farm and facility, but they don’t do any testing. “They only fill out paperwork,” Popoff says.

“In addition to organic foods, you’ll also be hit with the idea of bringing in the New Year with certified-organic booze.

“Such claim could not possibly get any more absurd.

“None of the alleged mystical attributes of organic barley or grapes even has a chance of surviving the fermentation and distillation processes.

“So save your money,” says Popoff.