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#YourStandardsYourSay: Changes to the 2020 Canadian Organic Standards

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On September 17, the Organic Council of Ontario hosted a webinar on proposed changes to the Canadian Organic Standards. Public comments will be accepted by the Canadian General Standards Board until September 30, 2019.

Panelists included: Hugh Martin, Rob Wallbridge, Joel Aitken, Norm Hansen, Rochelle Eisen, Simon Jacques, Nicole Boudreau

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#YourStandardsYourSay: Changes to the 2020 Canadian Organic Standards

  1. 1. #YourStandardsYourSay 2020 Standards Changes
  2. 2. Webinar Instructions Make sure your audio and video are both turned off If you have a question, please send it via chat and we will read it out or call on you to speak We will be recording the call If you are having trouble participating, please contact Zoom
  3. 3. Panelists & Agenda 12:00 Carolyn Young: Introduction and Welcome 12:05 Hugh Martin: Overview of the Standards Review Process 12:10 Rob Wallbridge: Updates on Crops and Parallel Production 12:20 Joel Aitken: Updates on Livestock Issues - ruminant, pork, poultry 12:30 Norm Hansen: Update on Greenhouse and Container Issues 12:40 Rochelle Eisen: Sprouts, Shoots and Microgreens 12:50 Simon Jacques: Update on the Permitted Substances List (Crops) 1:00 Rochelle Eisen: Updates on Preparations 1:10pm Nicole Boudreau: Next Steps in the Review Process 1:20pm Question and Answer 1:40pm Close
  4. 4. OrganicSectorOverview
  5. 5. What Are the Canadian Organic Standards? • Are referred to by the regulations • Adhere to International Standards Organization (ISO) guidelines • Outline the principles that guide organic agriculture, and specify the methods required to grow certified organic food • Contents are generated by organic sector, voted on by the technical committee, owned by CGSB • While US standards are embedded into government regulations, Canadian Standards are distinct from the regulations.
  6. 6. Canadian Organic Standards - 2020 revision • SCC/CGSB require us to revise COS every 5 years • During past year • 80+ conference calls 2-3 hours each • TC 4 conf call mtgs + 2.5 day in-person • 220+ comments reviewed (44 requests were rejected) by Working Groups • Draft revised standard released for public comment July 2, 2019 • 90 day public comment period ends Sept 30, 2019 • Comments reviewed by working groups – any necessary revisions to draft • Approval by SCC as a National Standard of Canada • Publish end of 2020 (Nov?) • 2021 operators come into compliance
  7. 7. Parallel Production – A compromise revision 5.1.4 The enterprise operation can be converted one unit at a time, and each converted unit shall respect the requirements of this standard. The exception to this norm, parallel production, is only allowed in the following cases: annual crops harvested during the final 24 months of the transition period when fields are added to existing operations, perennial crops (already planted), agricultural research facilities and production of seed, vegetative propagating materials and transplants.
  8. 8. Parallel Production – Clarifying definition “Visual” Distinguishability 3.46 parallel production (production parallèle) simultaneous production or preparation of organic and non-organic crops, including transitional crops, livestock and other organic products of the same or similar, visually indistinguishable varieties that are visually indistinguishable by the common person when the crops, livestock or products are positioned side by side.
  9. 9. Parallel Production – What hasn’t changed 5.1.3 The enterprise operation shall aim at a complete transition of its production. During the transition period, the enterprise operation can maintain, in addition to the production in transition, a non-organic system of production (split operation) that shall be entirely separate and identified separately, pending its incorporation into the overall transition process. … 5.1.5 The following special conditions shall be observed for parallel production: a) The operator shall clearly demonstrate that the identity of the crops so produced can be maintained during their production, harvesting, storage, processing, packaging and marketing; b) The operator shall maintain verifiable, accurate records of both non-organic and organic produce and product storage, transportation, processing and marketing. NOTE Parallel production crops, both organic and non-organic, are inspected just prior to harvest and an audit of all parallel production crops occurs after harvest. 5.1.6 All production units shall have distinct, defined boundaries. 5.1.7 Production methods shall not alternate between organic and non-organic on a production unit.
  10. 10. Seed – Organic sources 5.3 Seeds and planting stock 5.3.1 Organic seed, bulbs, tubers, cuttings, annual seedlings, transplants, planting stock, and other propagules shall be used. The following exceptions or conditions apply: 5.3.2 Organic seed and planting stock may be: a) treated, primed, pelleted, or coated with substances listed in Tables 4.2 & 4.3 of CAN/CGSB 32.311 and Table 7.3 of CAN/CGSB 32.311.
  11. 11. Seed – Non-organic sources 5.3.3 Non-organic, untreated seed and planting stock or seed treated with substances listed in Table 4.3 of CAN/CGSB-32.311 are permitted provided that: a) the organic seed or planting stock variety is: not produced on or available from within the operation; ; and or b) the organic seed or planting stock is not commercially available, and a documentedreasonable search involving potential, known organic suppliers has been conducted. c) when treated, primed, pelleted or coated, it is with substances listed in Table 4.2 or 4.3 of CAN/CGSB-32.311. except: i) seed primed with substances not listed on Tables 4.2 and 4.3 of CAN/CGSB-32.311 and Table 7.3 of CAN/CGSB-32.311 isare permitted providing that the priming process does not contain pesticides not listed on Tables 4.2 and 4.3 of CAN/CGSB-32.311 and Table 7.3 of CAN/CGSB-32.311 ii) non-organic perennial planting stock treated with substances prohibited by 1.4 d), 1.4 e), 1.4 f) or 1.4 g) shall be managed in accordance with this standard for at least 12 months before the first harvest of organic product. The land on which non-organic stock is planted is subject to the requirements of 5.1.1. iii) when seeds are treated with substances necessary for compliance to international, federal or provincial phytosanitary or food safety regulations and approved for use by regulatory agencies such as PMRA.
  12. 12. Seed – New definitions seed coating (enrobage des semences): a substance applied to the surface of a seed for a function distinct from seed pelleting. seed pelleting (pralinage des semences): augmenting a seed with substances to increase the size of seed to facilitate seeding. seed priming (trempage des semences): adding water-based solutions into seeds, before sowing, to improve the uniformity and speed of germination. Once wetted, the seed is dried to allow for shipping and short-term storage. Priming substances are not designed to enter the seed. seed treatment (traitement des semences): adding pest control products, plant growth regulators, inoculants or fertilizers, etc., to seeds to assist with their field performance. Can be performed pre- or post-sowing.
  13. 13. Livestock Standards Changes
  14. 14. All Livestock – Feed and Water
  15. 15. All Livestock – Outdoor Access • All stocking density tables have been updated. • They have been generally clarified as to which specific animals the densities apply to and exactly what type of area they require. • Minor surpasses of allowances in poultry and swine are now addressed.
  16. 16. All Livestock – Health Care
  17. 17. Dairy
  18. 18. Poultry
  19. 19. Swine
  20. 20. Swine • The above allowance can be used in all, non-poultry species, but specifically requested by pork producers.
  21. 21. OCO 2019 Regs update Greenhouse & container Working Group Norm Hansen Board Member Organic Council of Ontario October 10, 2019
  22. 22. Introduction 1. Overview 2. Soil Changes 3. Lighting Changes 4. Other Changes
  23. 23. Section 7.5.2 Soil Completely reworded and renumbered with no major concept changes (more specifics added): 1. Organized under heading: “hydroponic and aeroponic productions are prohibited.” 2. Diversity specified: 10% compost and 2% minerals. 3. Volume further specified for crops other than staked crops 4. Staked crops updated 5. Note updated.
  24. 24. Section 7.5.4 & 7.5.9 Lighting Reworded supplemental lighting and added artificial lighting: 1. Section 7.5.4: • Sunlight preferred • Sunlight required for crops > 60 days • Artificial allowed for crops < 60 days 2. Section 7.5.9 adds restrictions for artificial: • Only biological CO2 • Reuse transpiration water • Drain water must be reused or treated.
  25. 25. Other Clarifications and changes 1. Title changed to: “Protected Crops and Containers” 2. If crop <30 days must be organic seed. 3. All CO2 allowed 4. Cultural & Sanitation practices reorganized
  26. 26. SSM (sprouts, shoots and microgreens) Updates Rochelle Eisen
  27. 27. Overall changes • Reorganized so it is more logical • States artificial lighting is allowed • Outlines type of growing containers • Inert (steel, plastic, glass) for both water & soil systems • untreated plant based materials (burlap, coir) permitted for soil systems only • Stipulates soil must have a mineral and organic fraction
  28. 28. Crops covered by 7.4 & water testing • SSM crops harvest within 30 days (no change) • Added nanoshoots, living greens • Clarified it does not include whole head products • Water testing change to informative note “a water monitoring program should be in place to ensure water is potable”. • Eliminates food safety criteria from standard
  29. 29. Proposed Changes to 32.311 Permitted Substances List for Crop Production
  30. 30. Adminstrative changes The most noticeable changes are administrative/organizational. 1. Combining table 4.2 (Soil amendments & Crop Nutrition) with table 4.3 (Crop Production Aids) into 1 table with 2 columns. This was done to reduce duplication, as many substances were listed in both tables. 2. Reducing use of the word “non-synthetic”, as this was proving difficult to interpret. In general, wording was changed to “substances listed in table 4.2”
  31. 31. Clarifications • Clarification that “Microbial products” can be used as fertilizers. It was proposed that microbial products should not be allowed unless all substances used in their production appeared in table 4.2. The working group rejected this proposal on the basis that it was inconsistent with the listings for fertilizers of plant or animal origin, which can be produced with substances not on the PSL.
  32. 32. Changes • Addition of “Struvite” (magnesium-ammonium phosphate) made from waste streams, except human sewage. Struvite is a synthetic phosphate mineral that can be precipitated from liquid waste as a way of recovering phosphorus, preventing waterway pollution and displacing non-renewable mined phosphorus. It was proposed to allow struvite made from all wastewater streams, but the TC was divided on allowing it from sewage plants. • 2 synthetic preservatives now allowed in seaweed extracts. Currently, chemical extracts are allowed. Extracts which do not use these chemicals can use preservatives instead.
  33. 33. Changes • The addition of a positive list of allowed micronutrients (previously the term was not defined, but some micronutrients had their own listing. Micronutrients are now defined as: ): Iron, Manganese, Zinc, Copper, Molybdenum, Boron, Chlorine, Silicon. • Are you using a micronutrient not on this list? Nickel? Sodium? COMMENT! • Related: new listing “Silicon, silica & silicates”. Synthetic silicates now allowed as a fertilizer (previously sodium silicate only was allowed for “tree fruit and fibre processing”). It may be unclear if ALL synthetic forms of silica are allowed (ex: monosilicic acid)
  34. 34. Preparation Updates Rochelle Eisen
  35. 35. Synthetic / Non-synthetic jargon replacement • Historical - syn/non-syn replaced ‘natural’ which we all could relate to. Syn/non-syn is difficult to assess. • This revision • will eliminate hours and stress trying to figure out if a material is synthetic or non-synthetic helping to level the playing field for all producers • e.g. soap annotation “shall consist of fatty acids derived from animal or vegetable oils.” Even though that sounds non-synthetic technically almost all soaps are synthetic because the key ingredients, fat and lye are chemically altered by heat.
  36. 36. Instead of syn/non-syn • Annotations identify what sources are permitted or in some cases what sources are prohibited. • Examples • Potassium chloride (6.3): From mined sources such as sylvite, carnalite, and potash.Non-synthetic sources. • Essential oils (7.3): Derived from plant sources and substances in Table 6.3 Extraction solvents and precipitation aids. May contain permitted carriers (see Table 6.3 & 6.4 Carriers). • Overall impact? No notable change in permitted organic farming practices or in the scope of permitted substances. Instead, these changes will make it easier to know what substances are allowed.
  37. 37. NOI evaluation • Ensuring each non-agricultural component of a non organic ingredient is listed on the PSL has proven to be impossible. • This revision removes most of the burden 9.1.2 The Eevaluation of product composition shall exclude non- agricultural sub-parts of ingredients listed in Tables 6.3 & 6.4 that have a technical or functional effect on the ingredient but not on the final organic product, and are not declared on the final organic product label. These ingredient sub-parts may be present in the final organic product but only in insignificant amounts. This includes ingredients such as anticaking agents, carriers and fillers, preservatives, stabilizers, pH adjusters or buffers. Theand calculation of organic percentages shall account for all constituent ingredients or ingredient sub-parts, distinguishing between organic and non-organic components of each ingredient contained in the product.
  38. 38. 9.1.3 Brain teaser - When does water make a product organic and when does it not? • Many thought when the water was part of purchased ingredients – like so • 95% organic green tea (includes water) • 5% non-organic flavour Product qualified for organic status • But take out that ingredient water and • 94% water • 1% organic green tea extract • 5% non-organic flavour Product does not qualify for organic status • The math was being done both ways across the country depending on the certifier leading to confusion and inconsistency between operators and CBs. • With the 2020 publication water content of an ingredient (where water is identified as an ingredient of the ingredient) will need to be subtracted out.

On September 17, the Organic Council of Ontario hosted a webinar on proposed changes to the Canadian Organic Standards. Public comments will be accepted by the Canadian General Standards Board until September 30, 2019. Panelists included: Hugh Martin, Rob Wallbridge, Joel Aitken, Norm Hansen, Rochelle Eisen, Simon Jacques, Nicole Boudreau


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