European and Canadian consumers to have more organic choices

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Indy Lifestyle Online

European shoppers will be seeing more organically-certified Canadian produce on their grocery shelves and vice versa after the two struck an agreement to recognize each other's organic standards and laws.

The announcement was made this week by the Canada Organic Trade Association after four years of formal negotiation.

The new agreement is modeled after the first historic "organic equivalency arrangement" signed between the respective agriculture and food agencies of Canada and the US in 2009.

In Canadian grocery stores, the green USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) Organic seal on US-grown fruits, vegetables and salad mixes are instantly recognizable as a reliable organic label.

In the US, organic produce from Canada is labeled with a bilingual seal that reads Canada Organic and Biologique Canada.

For consumers, the new agreement means there'll be less confusion about the myriad of foreign organic labels, explained Matthew Holmes, executive director of the Canada Organic Trade Association in a statement.

The EU organic label is a green seal that features the outline of a leaf in white stars.

The global organic trade is estimated to be valued at more than $55 billion a year, with 96 percent of this represented by the US and European markets.

The new agreement is expected to significantly boost the trade of organic foods between Canada and the EU.

Canada is the only country in the world to deal directly with the American and EU markets through its own domestic standards, the group says.