The dif­fer­ence be­tween or­ganic and non-or­ganic dairy

The Globe and Mail (BC Edition) - - ORGANIC WEEK -

From but­ter and cheese to milk and yo­gurt, or­ganic dairy prod­ucts have in­creas­ingly be­come a kitchen sta­ple in homes across the coun­try. Agri­cul­ture and Agri-Food Canada es­ti­mates that dairy ac­counts for more than 10 per cent of all or­ganic food sales in Canada, and over the last decade, pro­duc­tion of or­ganic milk has more than dou­bled to meet grow­ing con­sumer de­mand.

“Cana­di­ans have be­come more in­formed about the dif­fer­ences be­tween or­ganic and non-or­ganic dairy,” says

Michelle Sch­midt is mar­ket­ing man­ager at Or­ganic Meadow Inc.

Michelle Sch­midt, mar­ket­ing man­ager at Or­ganic Meadow Inc., a Guelph, Ont., pro­ducer of or­ganic dairy prod­ucts that in­clude milk, yo­gurt, cheese, but­ter, ice cream and eggnog. “They’re mak­ing choices based on this knowl­edge.”

While or­ganic dairy prod­ucts con­tinue to be­come more vis­i­ble on gro­cery shelves in Canada, the vast se­lec­tion of dairy prod­ucts over­all and the dif­fer­ent prod­uct la­bels can be over­whelm­ing to con­sumers.

Ms. Sch­midt cites la­bels that use terms such as nat­u­ral, non-GMO and grass­fed, which some con­sumers con­fuse with or­gan­ics.

“The chal­lenge is that, while a prod­uct with these la­bels may in fact be nat­u­ral or free of ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied or­gan­isms, there may be other facets that do not meet the or­ganic stan­dards,” says Ms. Sch­midt. ”In the ab­sence of any uni­ver­sal def­i­ni­tion with many of these terms, it cre­ates con­fu­sion.”

Con­sumers should al­ways look for the Canada Or­ganic logo, which is af­fixed only to prod­ucts that meet the Cana­dian Or­ganic Stan­dards, says Ms. Sch­midt. These stan­dards, which are en­forced by the Cana­dian Food In­spec­tion Agency, set out strin­gent rules in the var­i­ous ar­eas that af­fect or­ganic dairy agri­cul­ture and pro­duc­tion – from farm to ta­ble.

“What’s nice about the Cana­dian Or­ganic Stan­dards is that they’re very clear about the min­i­mum thresh­olds for the dif­fer­ent facets of pro­duc­tion,” says Ms. Sch­midt. “This min­i­mizes vari­ances from farm to farm and gives con­sumers con­fi­dence in know­ing that they’re buy­ing prod­ucts of con­sis­tent high qual­ity.”

“What’s nice about the Cana­dian Or­ganic Stan­dards is that they’re very clear about the min­i­mum thresh­olds for the dif­fer­ent facets of pro­duc­tion.”

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