News Release Contact: Stephanie Wells
For Immediate Release Phone: 819-842-4574
Canadian organic regulation needed to further international trade
Greenfield, Mass. (Dec. 2, 2003)- On behalf of its members in Canada, the Organic Trade Association is urging Canadian consumers, environmentalists and organic industry players to actively support efforts to develop a Canadian regulation that would require organic products and ingredients, whether domestically produced or imported, to meet standards set by the Canadian government.
"Such a regulation will make it possible for Canada to negotiate with other trading partners, particularly the European Union, on possible equivalency or recognition agreements and further promote international trade of organic products. In addition, it will give consumers assurance that any products sold as organic in Canada have complied with mandatory standards," said Katherine DiMatteo, executive director of the Organic Trade Association (OTA), which represents all aspects of the organic industry in North America.
Before adopting a regulation, Canadian officials must first consult with the Canadian public and organic industry for comments and guidance. The first of these consultative sessions has been scheduled for Jan. 23, 2004, in Guelph in conjunction with the 2004 Organic Conference at the University of Guelph. Additional consultations in other parts of the country are tentatively planned for February and March.
Since 1999, the Canadian industry has had a voluntary Canada Organic Standard. In January 2003, industry members met with representatives of Agriculture & Agri-Foods Canada and agreed on the need for a mandatory regulation to help expedite trade relations with such major trading partners as the United States, European Union, and Japan. Subsequent meetings throughout the year have determined the structure of the proposed regulation.
"The Organic Trade Association has been one of the players at the table in this effort to shape a regulation and ensure standards that meet the needs of the Canadian public. This has truly been a cooperative effort on the part of key individuals in the Canadian government and organic industry, and we are optimistic that soon Canada can adopt a regulation. However, before that can happen, consumers and other Canadian constituents must actively show their support," DiMatteo said.
The Organic Trade Association is a membership-based business association representing all aspects of the organic industry in North America. Its members include 76 companies from Canada. More information about OTA is available on OTA's web site (www.ota.com) and its consumer web site (www.theorganicreport.org).
December 2, 2003
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