Ecological Agriculture Projects Logo

EAP Publications | Virtual Library | Magazine Rack | Search | What's new

new2.gif (111 bytes) Join the Ecological  Solutions Roundtable new2.gif (111 bytes)





2.1 Description

Food described using the term organic or words of similar intent, are the product of an organic farming system employing management practices that seeks Food should only refer to organic production methods if they come from an organic farm system employing management practices which seek to nurture ecosystems which achieve sustainable productivity, and provide weed, pest and disease control through a diverse mix of mutually dependent life forms, recycling plant and animal residues, crop selection and rotation, water management, tillage and cultivation. Soil fertility is maintained and enhanced by a system which optimises soil biological activity and the physical and mineral nature of the soil as the means to provide a balanced nutrient supply for plant and animal life as well as to conserve soil resources. Production should be sustainable with the recycling of plant nutrients as an essential part of the fertilizing strategy. Pest and disease management is attained by means of the encouragement of a balanced host/predator relationship, augmentation of beneficial insect populations, biological and cultural control and mechanical removal of pests and affected plant parts.


2.2 Definitions

For the purpose of these guidelines:

accreditation means the recognition by the authority or its delegated agent, that an inspection and/or certification body is complying with the requirememts as set down in paragraphs 6.5 and 6.6 of these guidelines.

official accreditation is the procedure by which a government agency having jurisdiction formally recognises the competence of an inspection and/or certification body to provide inspection and certification services. For organic production the competent authority may delegate the accreditation function to a private body.

agricultural product/product of agricultural origin means any product or commodity, raw or processed, that is marketed for human consumption (excluding water, and salt and additives) or animal feed

audit is a systematic and functionally independent examination to determine whether activities and related results comply with planned objectives2.

certification is the procedure by which official certification bodies, or officially recognised certification bodies, provide written or equivalent assurance that foods or food control systems conform to requirements. Certification of food may be, as appropriate, based on a range of inspection activities which may include continuous on-line inspection, auditing of quality assurance systems and examination of finished products.3

competent authority means the official government agency having jurisdiction.

genetically modified organisms are all materials produced through the modern methods of biotechnology; specifically gene technology "recombinant DNA (rDNA)" and all other techniques using molecular and/or cell-biology for altering the genetic make-up of living organisms in ways or with results which do not occur in nature or through traditional breeding.

Genetically engineered organisms. The following provisional definition is provided for genetically engineered organisms4. Genetically enginnered organisms, and products thereof, are produced through techniques in which the genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination.

Techniques of genetic engineering include, but are not limited to: recombinant DNA, cell fusion, micro and macro injection, encapsulation, gene deletion and doubling. Genetically engineered organisms will not include organisms resulting from techniques such as conjugation, transduction and hybridization.

ingredient means any substance, including a food additive, used in the manufacture or preparation of a food and present in the final product although possibly in a modified form5.

inspection is the examination of food or systems for control of food, raw materials, processing, and distribution including in-process and finished product testing in order to verify that they conform to requirements6. For organic food, inspection includes the examination of the production and processing system.

inspection certification body means a body which is responsible for verifying that a product sold or labelled as "organic" is produced, processed, prepared handled, and imported according to these guidelines. This procedure may also be carried out by a certification body.

labelling means any written, printed or graphic matter that is present on the label, accompanies the food, or is displayed near the food, including that for the purpose of promoting its sale or disposal7.

marketing means holding for sale or displaying for sale, offering for sale, selling, delivering or placing on the market in any other form.

officially recognized inspection systems/officially recognized certification systems are systems which have been formally approved or recognized by a government agency having jurisdiction8.

operator means any person who produces, prepares or imports, with a view to the subsequent marketing thereof, products as referred to in Section 1.1, or who markets such products.

plant protection product means any substance intended for preventing, destroying, attracting, repelling, or controlling any pest or disease including unwanted species of plants or animals during the production, storage, transport, distribution and processing of food, agricultural commodities, or animal feeds.

preparation means the operations of slaughtering, processing, preserving and packaging of agricultural products [and also alterations made to the labelling concerning the presentation of the organic production method.]

production means the operations undertaken to supply agricultural products in the state in which they occur on the farm, including initial packaging and labelling of the product.

2 CAC/GL 20-1995

3 CAC/GL 20-1995

4 In the absence of a definition of genetically engineered organisms agreed by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, this definition has been developed in order to provide initial guidance for governments in the application of these guidelines. This definition is therefore to remain under review in the light of other considerations by the Commission and its Committees. In the interim, member countries may also apply national definitions.

5 Codex Alimentarius Volume 1A - General Requirements, Section 4 - Labelling of repackaged Foods (Stan 1-1985 Rev 1-1991)

6 CAC/GL 20-1995

7 Codex Stan 1-1985 (rev 1-1991)

8 CAC/GL 20-1995.


Codex Alimentarius Working Group, May 27th, 1998. (Draft copy)

Important Note

Text that appears in bold and underlined letters indicates new text relative to the last document of the "Codex Alimentarius Working Group".

Text that appears in red italics letters indicates eliminated text.

Text that appears in green will be discussed next year.

Info Request | Services | Become EAP Member | Site Map

Give us your comments about the EAP site

Ecological Agriculture Projects, McGill University (Macdonald Campus)
Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC,  H9X 3V9 Canada
Telephone:          (514)-398-7771
Fax:                     (514)-398-7621


To report problems or otherwise comment on the structure of this site, send mail to the Webmaster