Organic Trade Association's Organic Newsroom: Organic Trade Association advances organic textiles, personal care products in Canada
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2007 Press Releases


Organic Trade Association advances organic textiles, personal care products in Canada

For Immediate Release
Contact: Matthew Holmes

(Ottawa, September 5)-The Organic Trade Association (OTA) has begun discussions with industry and government about organic standards for textile and personal care products. OTA has called on Health Canada and Industry Canada to recognize the growing consumer demand for non-food organic products and the need to protect and promote these important, growing sectors.

In August, OTA also presented concerns about the marketability of non-food organic products to the Committee on Organic Agriculture. The committee is made up of representatives from organic farmers, industry, and consumers, and is responsible for establishing Canada's organic production and processing standards under the Canadian General Standards Board.

Matthew Holmes, the Organic Trade Association's representative, told the committee that agricultural products such as organic clothing, textiles, essential oils, soaps and other non-food products need to be included within Canada's organic standards. The committee unanimously supported Holmes' motion to begin a discussion on including organic textiles and personal care products within the standards.

"It's important to remember that these are all agricultural products," said Holmes. "Non-food products could be certified organic, as they already are in many countries. People want to know that any product they're buying is a good choice for the environment: it's not only about food."

Although the Canadian standards provide clear guidance on the agricultural production of organic ingredients for such non-food products, there is no clear guidance on how to process them into the final product, such as an organic t-shirt or organic shampoo.

"The organic business community in Canada needs to look at international models and our own market and make some decisions on what's in and what's out. Let's start that conversation now," said Holmes. Many countries, certifying bodies and OTA have already developed organic standards for textiles or personal care products, which can serve as models for made-in-Canada standards.

The Government of Canada is in the midst of implementing a new regulation on organic food, which is expected to be in place by the end of 2008. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency will oversee and enforce the new regulation. Currently, there is no regulation covering the manufacturing of non-food organic products.

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for the organic industry in North America, with offices in the U.S. and Canada. OTA's mission is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public, and the economy. OTA's vision is that organic products are a significant part of everyday life, enhancing people's lives and the global environment.

For more information, contact:

Matthew Holmes
managing director, Canada
Organic Trade Association