AUDIO: Are your organic groceries really organic?
Organic food is supposed to be free from genetically modified ingredients.
There should be no chemical pesticides used on fruits and veggies and no hormones or anti-biotics in your beef or chicken.
Anyone who regularly buys organic knows that peace-of-mind can make for a hefty grocery bill.
Now, a new report from the Frontier Centre for Public Policy is asking if consumers really get what they pay for.
Report co-author Mischa Popoff is a former organic farmer and also used to work as a contractor for a private organic food inspector.
He argues the 'hands-off' system the Canadian Food Inspection Agency uses to certify organic food is wide open to abuse and out-right fraud.
That's because the CFIA contracts inspections to private companies that are paid royalties of between 1% and 3% on their clients' sales.
Popoff's argument is that it is potentially profitable for these companies to break the rules.
"You have no means to find out whether someone is cheating because there is no testing (done by the government)," he says.
Instead of testing organic food themselves, the CFIA vets and selects contractors to do this work, both within and outside Canada's borders.
Popoff adds that there is even less transparency for inspections done outside of Canada.
"More than half of the organic food sold in Canada is imported," he says.
Popoff believes that the honour system is not sufficient for making sure that organic food that is on store shelves in Canada is truly organic.
Organic food sales are estimated to be worth over $2.5 million.