Wednesday, January 8, 2014

 

Food News

What On Earth We Eating?

Organic food industry under fire after pesticides found

Submitted by Mischa Popoff, Kelowna

 

ischa Popoff, author of Is It Organic?, responds to CBC reporter's Joanne Lavesseur's breaking story.

 

I read your story on pesticide residue in Canadian organic food and was quite surprised that you failed to mention Canada’s lack of a threshold for pesticide tolerance in its organic standard. The Americans have a threshold in their organic standard. But since Canada does not, there is no possible way to distinguish between organic products that may have been inadvertently contaminated by spray drift and products that are likely fraudulent.

You also failed to mention that Canada has no testing clause in its organic standard. None. I explained both of these point to you when we spoke back in November of 2011, and again when I sent you a press release less than a month ago. I hope you will address these points when you and Vera-Lynn write a follow-up. The secret tests carried out by the CFIA that you had to extract through Access to Information were not part of the CFIA’s oversight of the Canadian organic sector. So nothing will change as a result.

With that said, I commend you for mentioning the fact that roughly 80 percent of the “organic” products certified by the CFIA are imported from countries like Mexico. So much for helping domestic, family-scale organic farmers. You should also be aware that (as I explain in the press release below) the USDA finally plans to begin enforcing its testing clause as part of its organic certification system. Canada meanwhile cannot implement such a plan; our legislation would have to be completely rewritten in order to implement any kind of Canadian organic testing system. As such, Canada will lag behind our largest trading partner when it comes to participating in the fast-growing organic sector.

And what, I must ask, about the fraudulent use of synthetic fertilizer? Whenever I talk with journalists, I’m always asked about pesticides. But please believe me, synthetic fertilizer is the far greater money-maker for organic charlatans, doubling or tripling yield. There is a simple way to address this, but the leaders of the organic industry are not interested, preferring instead to advance their cause by leveling unfounded attacks against the conventional and biotech sectors.

 

On that note, where you aware that President Clinton actually tried to leave the door open to cooperation and overlap between the organic and biotech sectors? And guess who slammed that door shut. If you guessed the biotech conglomerates, you’d be wrong. It was organic activists who were unwilling to so much as consider the possible benefits of this promising new science.

Back to the matter at hand, neither Matthew Holmes nor Mark Kastel support routine, unannounced organic field testing to prevent fraud and to encourage excellence in the multibillion dollar, global organic sector. I have a standing offer to debate them both on these important issues. Perhaps your story will encourage them to take up the challenge.

 

 

About Mischa Popoff

Mischa Popoff is a former USDA contract organic inspector and is the author of Is it Organic? If you happen to know Minister Gerry Ritz’s cell number, please send it to him through his website www.isitorganic.ca

 

 

 

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