New certified organic labeling regulations for B.C. food and beverages take effect

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      Until this month, British Columbia did not have any official requirements for food or beverage products that were sold or marketed as organic. Some producers had begun using labels stating "non-certified organic".

      However, the B.C. government has introduced new regulations that will ensure food products labelled organic are exactly that.

      After consultations held with organic operators in 2015 and a transition period, the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture has introduced new regulations, effective as of September 1, that require all food products and beverages labelled as organic to be certified by an accredited provincial or federal program.

      Also, all organic food and beverage operators to maintain up-to-date certification.

      While certifying bodies, such as the Certified Organic Associations of British Columbia, will ensure producers and processors meet standards, the B.C. government will use a graduated approach for compliance.

      Certified operators will use the B.C. Certified Organic Checkmark, the Canadian organic logo, or both logos on their products, and will have valid certification at their business.

      Uncertified operators who market or label their food or beverage products as organic can be reported and will face penalties, such as a $350 fine.

      More information about organic food and beverage policies is available at the agriculture and seafood section of the B.C. government website.