There are a few options for logos that companies can use on food labels in Canada, but what do they mean to consumers?
Any food label using an Organic logo or claim in Canada must adhere to the standards set by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and must be certified by an authorized organization. The CFIA oversees the Organic regulations, accredits certification bodies and establishes the organic equivalency arrangements with other countries. The equivalency arrangements are set between two countries after the CFIA has assessed and compared the two regulatory systems. If the regulations are found to achieve the same results and policy objectives in the two countries, an equivalency arrangement will be met.
This will allow for imported products to be certified according to the importing countries requirements. Currently, Canada has equivalency arrangements with Costa Rica, European Union (EU), Japan, Switzerland and the United States. The specific products eligible for the equivalency do vary from country to country. For example, the arrangement with Japan only includes plants and processed foods of plant origin, while the arrangement with the US has a much wider scope.
Part of the arrangement includes that the products must be certified by a body accredited in the foreign country and also recognized in Canada. Products that meet the requirements are allowed to bear the Canada Organic logo, it can simply be requested from the certifier. Normally, a food company does have the option to choose whether they would like to keep the Organic logo from the country of origin, use the Canada Organic logo, or use both on one label.
Canadian consumers can be confident that no matter what logo they see on the products, if it says “Organic”, it has been held to the high Canadian Organic standards. Although the icons may change, the CFIA has processes in place to verify all organic products sold in Canada.
Unsure if you are using the correct logos or claims on your packaging? Contact our regulatory team today!