Information for operators

A lasting trend?

Most experts believe that in our industrialized countries organic food has become a way of life. Demand for these products is experiencing a vigorous expansion in both domestic and international markets, including in the United States, Europe and Japan. However in Quebec 70-80% of organic products sold would be imported.

Organic, a business opportunity? Possibly, but you better know the rules governing this designation before embarking on the melee.

A reserved designation

The organic designation is reserved in Quebec since February 1st, 2000. This reservation means that all food product identifying themselves as organic or «biologique» or any other related term must respond to a precise specification manual and have been certified by a CARTV accredited certifier (products from Quebec) or by the CFIA (products from outside of Quebec).

Becoming an organic operator... no improvisation

To put the odds in your favour, remember that organic planning methods remain more or less identical to any other company. To find out if your company and products you want to market using the organic designation are subject to the certification requirement in the context of the Act, read the following sections of the Quebec Organic Reference Standards:

If you are subject to the Act’s requirements, you will be submitted to the control of a certification body. During the inspection, not only the final quality of your products will be examined, but also your business’ production or transformation systems. Six certifiers are accredited in Quebec, which certify all products according to a single standard, or the Quebec Organic Reference Standards. In addition, farmers must meet a conversion period of a minimum of 1 year (pre-certification) and a maximum 3 years duration.

Sales outside of Quebec

If you want to sell your organic products certified in Quebec on the North American market, you will need to validate their compliance with Canadian BIO Regime managed by the Canadian Agency and Food Inspection (CFIA) requirements. All bodies accredited by the CARTV for the certification of organic products in Quebec, also offer this certification scope.

Labelling Rules

Products which have obtained an organic certification and using mentions like «organic» or «contains X% of origanic ingredients» must meet certain labelling requirements. The most important remains the mandatory mention “Certified by” followed by the name of the certifier. The certifiers’ logos are always optional on products certified with more than 70 percent organic ingredients and forbidden on those containing less than this percentage. Québec labelling requirements are summarized in the following document:

Once your products are certified, if you note that their labelling is not in accordance with the prescribed rules in the standards, you can apply for a temporary derogation. It is a simple procedure that will spare you concerns. You can also find on our site a list of products benefiting from such derogation.

Questions?

  • If you have questions regarding the regulatory framework, standards or procedures to obtain the certification of your products, please do not hesitate to interrogate a CARTV accredited certifier by or contact us directly.  A reply will be given as soon as possible.
    Email : info@cartv.gouv.qc.ca
    Phone: 514-873-2983
    Fax: 514-873-2580
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information-operators

2015