Courtesy of

There’s no doubt that there are significant rules and regulations in place that farmers must follow in order to certify their production as organic. Canada has a rigourous organic standard, and organic farmers typically take several years to fully transition to the production system. In turn, Canadian consumers have more organic choices in supermarkets than ever before, and the organic industry — worth billions in Canada alone — continues to grow each year.

There are, however, a few problems with the Canadian organic regulatory system, problems that are likely impacting organic growers’ marketing potential. That’s according to Mischa Popoff and his colleague Patrick Moore who have co-authored a recent paper released by The Frontier Centre for Public Policy that points out a rather large hiccup in the system. In short, organic produce and food, while tested regularly by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to ensure it meets Canada’s food safety standards, is not held to any more stringent standard than conventional production.

In this interview,’s editor, Lyndsey Smith, asks Mischa why the gap in testing exists, how it’s hurting Canada’s organic growers and what, if anything, can be done to remedy the situation.

For more on the paper entitled “Canada’s Organic Nightmare,” click here.

If you cannot see the embedded video, click here.

2 thoughts on “Canada’s Organic Standard is Failing the Consumer and the Grower: Mischa Popoff

  1. Use a refractor meter to measure how dense a food is. The more solids and vitamins that fruit or vegetable has, usually the healthier it is because the soil is healthier. Higher the chemical use is, the lower is the good soil microbiology.

  2. Since RealAg has decided to promote this story again in response to recent media stories, allow me to correct a few of the numerous false and misleading allegations Popoff makes:

    1) Testing can and does happen (particularly in cases of suspected fraud). The contract I sign every year with my certification body specifically gives them to right to collect samples for analysis, and describes the conditions for doing so.

    2) Contrary to Popoff’s claims, CFIA testing found higher-than-acceptable residues on only 1.8 per cent of the samples – a cause for concern, yes, but nowhere near as alarming as Popoff’s conspiracy theory.

    3) Accurate data regarding the size of Canada’s organic market and the source of organic products can be found at

    4) Conducting inspections of organic products on the farms where they are grown (here or abroad) is the only logical way of determining their compliance with the comprehensive set of organic standards. Waiting until it has left the farm, or reached a Canadian port, is absolutely non-sensical to anyone with experience in food chain auditing.

    In the future, I look forward to seeing RealAgriculture speak with one of the many knowledgeable, experienced people who represent Canada’s organic sector when they are covering this growing industry.

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