Organic standards under fire in Canada

A coalition of more than 40 conservation, consumer and organic organizations from Canada and the United States on Tuesday submitted a letter to the Canada General Standards Board opposing the agency’s proposed organic standards.

The public comment period for the standards closed on Monday, and a draft of the standards is expected to be released soon.

The coalition said that the weakest parts of the standards relate to farmed fish, particularly the use antibiotics and the certification of net-pen farmed salmon, which it said the proposed standards, if approved, would allow.

The use of antibiotics are “completely contrary to organic principles and what consumers have come to expect when choosing organic,” said Shauna MacKinnon of Living Oceans Society, a coalition member. She also questioned the certification of net-pen farmed salmon because of “a weak definition of what constitutes a sustainable fishery with corresponding unlimited use of ‘sustainable’ wild fish in feed.”

The coalition added that it is concerned that the Canadian organic standards for farmed fish will “set a low bar” and put downward pressure on the U.S. equivalent, which is currently in the final approval process with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In addition to Living Oceans Society, coalition member include the David Suzuki Foundation, Georgia Strait Alliance and Watershed Watch Salmon Society.

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