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Canadian Organic Standards
Final Questions & Answers

3. Terms and definitions

Updated on December 1, 2021
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Genetic engineering – Cell fusion #

Is cell fusion allowed in organic production? (199) No. Cell fusion which combines plants of different taxonomic families (such as sagebrush and grape) is not allowed. Cell fusion is only allowed between members of the same taxonomic family. See the definition of ‘Genetic engineering’ in 3.31 of 32.310.

Visually indistinguishable #

What is the criteria or definition for “visually indistinguishable” (3.52) ? Is a crop considered visually distinguishable if can be identified by an expert such as a grader or plant breeder OR must it be visually distinguishable to a common person? (349) The criteria for ‘visually indistinguishable’ is that a common person could not distinguish one from the other if the products were positioned side by side.

Biodegradability #

What is the definition of biodegradability as it pertains to the Canadian Organic Standards? (263) Biodegradable is defined in the standard as “capable of microbial decomposition within 24 months in soil (with the exception of plant biomass), one month in aerated water, two months in anaerobic water, with minimal impact on the environment” (see 3.11 in 32.310).

Definition of ‘production unit’ #

What is the definition of production unit for agricultural enterprises? Does each field, each greenhouse or each livestock building constitute a production unit or is it all fields, greenhouses, buildings managed by a company? (403) A production unit is defined as “identifiable portion of an operation in which production or preparation of an organic product occurs.” Therefore, each field, greenhouse, or livestock building – even a contiguous portion thereof that is identified separately in an operation’s organic system plan – would be considered a separate production unit if requirements pertaining to segregation, traceability, buffer zones, organic integrity, etc. were maintained for that identifiable portion. All production units shall have distinct, defined boundaries (5.1.6 in 32.310).
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