by BETTER FARMING STAFF
Leaders of Canada’s organic movement say consumers shouldn’t be surprised or alarmed that Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) tests found trace amounts of pesticides in organic apples from Canada, the United States and New Zealand. Records released to CBC News by the CFIA show 23.6 per cent of the 178 organic apples tested in 2009 and 2010 contained pesticide residue.
Jacob Pries, in charge of membership and communications for the Organic Council of Ontario, says there is no escaping trace amounts of herbicides, fungicides and pesticides, “because we live in a polluted world. They find pesticides in Arctic ice.”
Ted Zettel, president of the Organic Federation of Canada, says, “these things are in the air and in the water so these trace amounts are not something that we would be surprised or alarmed at.” Zettel added that producers and consumers understand “that there has never been or will be any claim to be perfectly pure or free from the agricultural toxins that contaminate the landscape.”
While routine chemical testing is not part of the organic certification process, Zettel says random tests are allowed if there “is suspicion of fraud” on the part of the producer.
Pries says the main problem facing Canadian organic apple producers is post-harvest contamination in processing centres where conventional apples have been dipped in a fungicide. “It’s real hard to get those fungicides out of the buildings, out of the processing centres,” he says. BF