The label says the product is ‘natural’—how is that different from ‘certified organic’?
Rupert Jannasch, a certified organic grower and former inspector comments on the current state of the organic certification system.
Listening is one of the key skills an effective inspector needs to develop. I like listening, although it’s often a challenge to hear what is really being said or asked. I am always happy to listen to your questions, and here in the pages of The Canadian Organic Grower, I plan to provide some answers.
The expenses involved in having a trained inspector travel to your establishment, review your organic system plan and paperwork, and write a report for the certification committee represent a relatively small part of the total expense. Most organic certifiers incur costs in maintaining offices and staff to meet client needs, and in managing promotion and education.
Marketers know that consumers will buy products that are healthier and better for the environment, so it seems everyone wants to get on the bandwagon. But what makes a product natural? Is ‘all-natural’ the same as ‘organic’?
In a word: Prepare! A visit from the organic inspector can strike terror into the hearts of even the most diligent, experienced producers. The inspector is the “eyes and ears” of the consumer. It is his/her job to look, listen and ask questions about literally every aspect of your operation and report these observations to your certifier.
My organic inspection is coming up soon—what can I do to make it as painless as possible? Prepare!