Wednesday, January 8, 2014
What On Earth We
industry under fire after pesticides found
Submitted by Mischa Popoff, Kelowna
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
(c) 2013 The Valley Voice