On Monday and Tuesday of this week we had our annual organic inspection. This year we had three inspectors out for our inspection, the organic inspector, an auditor who was auditing the inspector and an inspector in training. They physically inspected the land, animals, buildings and records and took a full two days in order to go through everything thoroughly. This inspection by an independent third-party auditor is a critical component to being certified organic. This verification that the farmers are following the Canadian Organic Standards means that you can know that what you are buying was truly grown or raised to the organic standard.
But what does the Canadian Organic Standard encompass, what was the inspector verifying?
-No Antibiotics, or growth hormones:
From the very inception of the organic program to the current day the use of antibiotics and hormones have been prohibited and their prohibition was a founding principle of organics. It is the only program that covers both simultaneously. It assures you that the meat that you consume has never been treated with any hormones and has never been treated with any antibiotics.
No animal biproducts are allowed to be fed to animals in organic production. Any feed that animals are given are made up of grains, legumes, seeds and grasses.
-No Pesticides, Herbicides, Fungicides or GMO’s:
No chemical herbicides, pesticides, fungicides are allowed to be applied to any certified organic land or certified organic crops. GMO’s are prohibited and are not allowed to be grown on any certified organic land. For animals it means that all the feed that any certified organic animals receive has never been sprayed with any chemical pesticides, herbicides or fungicides. They also are not allowed to contain any GMO’s. This has always been part of the organic standard and is a very important part. It has important health benefits for the animals and the consumer but also has a greater environmental impact, benefiting wildlife, pollinators, water and the air
Organic standards were some of the first standards to an include animal welfare standard. This standard mandates that animals including birds are to have plenty of space, access to pasture and the outdoors. They also mandate no farrowing crates for sows, no cages for laying hens and access to pasture for cattle.
-No Sewage Sludge or Irradiation:
The use of sewage sludge as a fertilizer on fields is prohibited. This is important as it protects both the land from its pollution but also helps prevent the spread of food borne illness. Irradiation is the application of low level radioactive waves to food in order to kill bacteria. This practice is becoming more and more common in the conventional food system. This practice is not allowed on any certified organic product.
-No Artificial food colorings, flavourings, sweeteners and chemical preservatives:
These artificial and chemical processing products are not allowed in organic food products. By buying organic you know that you are not consuming these chemicals.
Organic inspections are extremely important for both the producer and the consumer, and we were happy to show the inspectors the farm and the way we raise our animals. We are committed to providing clean, pure, certified organic and humanely raised food for you and your family.
Ron, Sheila and Isaac