The difference between organic and non-organic dairy
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.”