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Organic foods are gaining in popularity and have extended to the fish sector as well with—you guessed it—organic fish. You can now start to find organic fish in grocery stores, which is great news for the environment!

What does the organic designation mean?

In Quebec, products that are designated organic include foods that are either processed or farmed in accordance with strict standards regulated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Generally speaking, these standards include prohibiting the use of pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, GMO seeds, etc.

How to ensure certification is valid?

Any product labelled organic in Quebec must have been certified by an independent body. Labels must include the mention certified, controlled or verified by with the name of the accredited certifying body, with or without their logo. The list of accredited certification bodies for Quebec includes:

The presence of one of these six logos in Quebec guarantees that the product includes over 70% organic ingredients.

How does organic fish fit in?

With regard to fish, Fisheries and Oceans Canada in conjunction with the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance have issued standards with the following general organic aquaculture guidelines:

  1. Protect the environment, minimize the degradation and erosion of benthic conditions, minimize the degradation of water quality, reduce pollution, optimize biological productivity and promote health.
  2. Maintain ecosystem stability in the long term by fostering conditions that are favourable to biodiversity.
  3. Recycle material and resources as much as possible within operations.
  4. Adequately care for aquatic species to ensure their health and to meet their behavioural needs.
  5. Prepare organic products with special care given to transformation and handling methods in order to maintain the biological integrity and essential qualities of the product at all stages of production.

So thanks to impressive specifications, organic aquaculture offers space and farming conditions appropriate to specific animal needs in addition to organic feed. All these practices aim to minimize animal stress levels, promote health and prevent disease.
 

Is it better for you?

The organic designation refers to the manner the food was produced and not to its value. The consumption of certified organic foods encourages more responsible production methods for the environment and animals. With regard to its impact on health, the consumption of fish remains essential to a balanced diet. It has not yet been proven whether organic fish has a higher nutritional value than traditional fish. So regardless of whether you eat organic or traditional fish, the important thing is to try to include two servings per week to keep your heart healthy.

Happy fish eating!
 

Sources:

Le Centre de référence sur la nutrition de l’Université de Montréal, Un produit bio c’est quoi?, consulted 2018-01-18.

Aquaculture biologique, consulted 2018-01-18.

Accredited Certification Bodies for Québec (Organic Designation)

https://www.cartv.gouv.qc.ca/en/accredited-certification-bodies-quebec-organic-designation, consulted 2018-01-18.

Le Centre de référence sur la nutrition de l’Université de Montréal, Les aliments biologiques sont-ils plus nutritifs ?http://www.extenso.org/article/les-aliments-biologiques-sont-ils-plus-nutritifs/, consulted 2016-09-02 and 2018-01-18.

Le Centre de référence en alimentation de la petite enfance, Offrir une alimentation biologique aux enfants, http://www.nospetitsmangeurs.org/offrir-une-alimentation-biologique-aux-enfants/, consulted 2016-09-02 and 2018-01-18.

Conseil des appellations réservées et des termes valorisants, Aide-mémoire du consommateur bio, http://www.cartv.gouv.qc.ca/sites/documents/documents_publics/AideMemoireConsommateurs130425.pdf consulted 2016-09-02 and 2018-01-18.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Regulating organic products in Canada, http://www.inspection.gc.ca/food/organic-products/labelling-and-general-information/regulating-organic-products/eng/1328082717777/1328082783032, consulted 2016-09-02 and 2018-01-18.