No More Blanket Organic Certification Of Wild Rice

Tuesday, June 03, 2008 at 13:13



Changes are coming for northern Saskatchewan’s wild rice growers.


Starting this season, if harvesters want to sell their rice in the U.S. with an organic label — their growing area has to be individually inspected to make sure it fits the criteria for organic certification.


A La Ronge-based wild rice marketer says, in the past, blanket certification was granted with as little as 10 per cent of growing areas subject to spot checks.


But Terry Helary of Northern Lights Foods says northern producers now have to decide if they want to pay as much as $1,000 more to have their operations individually inspected, or if they want to save money by joining a grower group.


Helary says rules attached to grower groups give producers less options on where they can sell their rice.


He says growers have to make a call by the end of the month — and the worst thing they could do is do nothing.


Helary notes consultation meetings will be held across the North in the coming weeks.