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Organic Standards Interpretation

New Public Comment Period 

from February 20 to March 20, 2024

If a new beekeeping operation submits an initial application for certification and purchases hives and colonies that are already certified organic, does the operation have to be under organic management for 12 months before its beekeeping products can be certified organic?

When used as a soil amendment, can mined sources of silicon, silica and silicates such as diatomaceous earth (DE) or silicon dioxide be mixed with water before being applied to fields and crops?

Can vitamins and minerals be used in organic products categorised as Supplemented Foods, such as an energy drink?

Can a prepared organic product contain shellac, as a non-organic ingredient?

Can a so-called biodegradable detergent contain non-listed or restricted substances such as phosphoric acid?

If a cleaner/sanitizer SDS and label do not list ingredients, is the product allowed under Tables 7.3 and 7.4?

Click here to consult the proposed responses subject to a 30-day comment period.

All comments regarding answers proposed by the Agri-SIC should be sent to cfia.opr-rpb.acia@canada.ca


The Standards Interpretation Committee

In order to support operators implementing the Canadian Organic Standard and to resolve conflicting interpretations between certification bodies and certified operators, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has established in 2009 the Standards Interpretation Committee (SIC).

C.5.5 If an interpretation of an applicable standard is required by the Certification Body a certificate holder at any point during certification activities, it can be sought from the Standards Interpretation Committee (SIC).
(Source: Canada Organic Regime operating manual)

C.5.11 The CB shall adhere to the interpretations of the Canadian Organic Standards (CAN/CGSB 32.310, CAN/CGSB 32.311, and CAN/CGSB 32.312) provided by the SIC and considered official by the CFIA, to achieve uniform and consistent application of the rules to all operators through various CBs.
(Source: Canada Organic Regime operating manual)

The interpretations from the Standards Interpretation Committee are presented as Final Questions & Answers, categorized under sections corresponding to the numbering of the Canadian Organic Standards.

Questions & Answers Under Comment Period

New Public Comment Period 

from February 20 to March 20, 2024

All comments regarding these answers should be sent to


Reports from previous public comment periods

Addressing a question to the SIC

Is there a question that you want to address to the SIC?

Questions about the meaning of a particular point in the Canadian Organic Standard may originate from any source and are directed to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) at cfia.opr-rpb.acia@canada.ca

There is no specific form on which stakeholders should present their questions; but the SIC is suggesting the following guidelines:

So, feel free to send your questions remembering to:

SIC Terms of Reference

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, in partnership with the Organic Federation of Canada, has developed the Organic Standards Interpretation Committee (SIC). The objective of the Committee is to provide to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) interpretive guidance on issues related to the National Standards for Organic Agriculture (CAN/CGSB 32.310 and CAN/CGSB 32.311).

Click here to read the SIC Terms of Reference.

Proposed answers to questions, raised by organic stakeholders, regarding the National Standards for Organic Agriculture are posted on the website of OFC.

The elected members of the Standards Interpretation Committee are:

Allison Grant

Organic Inspector

Organic crop, livestock and processor inspector. Organic gardener, advocate and mentor

Karla Sieck

Certification Team Supervisor

Certification specialist, IOAS Training in Farm and Livestock

Nicolas Savard

Certification Team Manager

College Studies in agriculture, Certification Specialist, Inspector, Family scale maple syrup producer

Angela Rouillard

Organic Inspector

PhD in Animal Sciences, livestock research, extension, and policy specialist. Organic inspector.

Allison Squires

Organic producer

PhD in Toxicology, organic producer. Active contributor to Standards Review.

François Handfield

Dave Lockman

Manager of Organic Certification Program

Agri-Food MBA, Certification Specialist, Inspector, Consultant.

Health Care Products and Production Aids

Permitted Substances List of the Canadian Standards on Organic Production Systems – CAN/CGSB 32.311 – permit the use of Health Care Products and Production Aids in Table 5.3 under the various categories – “Anti-inflammatories, Biologics (including vaccines), Homeopathic and Biotherapies, Parasiticides and Anti-microbials, Plant oils”.

Click on Health Care Products and Production Aids to get a complete listing of substances commonly used in organic livestock husbandry, along with some specific recommendations of acceptable practices.

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