Organic, or Not?
Some flax seed and flax seed meal are labelled “organic”, raising the question of the safety of flax which does not carry the organic label. All flax that is clean and that comes from a reputable supplier is considered to be safe for you to eat.
Clean, Whole Seed – Reputable suppliers of flax seed for food purposes keep you, the customer, in mind at all times, choosing only the finest quality flax seeds from select growers. These suppliers “super clean” premium quality flax seeds to ensure only a pure product of whole, unbroken seeds reaches you. Clean flax will have no broken or green seeds, and no bits of foreign material. One look at a supermarket bin of uniform, copper-coloured, shiny flax seeds tells you if the product is clean.
Canadian Grain Commission Testing – In Canada, the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) provides another check for seed quality. The CGC is responsible for maintaining the quality of all Canadian grain and oilseed exports. The CGC regularly tests grain samples to ensure only the highest quality is exported. These tests monitor the seeds for any substances or contaminants that may be unhealthy for people to eat. For example, CGC uses extensive laboratory checks to ensure that chemicals do not remain on the seeds. (Chemicals are sometimes sprayed on crops during the growing season to kill pests or diseases. After harvest, seeds may also be sprayed with a chemical to control and minimize insect and rodent infestations during storage.) While CGC assures suppliers and consumers that quality standards are met, it is Health Canada that assesses foods for safe consumption.
Health Canada Standards – Health Canada pays close attention to products marketed as foods. It allows only products it considers to be safe to eat to enter food markets.
Organic Label – A few companies offer organically-grown flax, labelling the seeds and oils with an “organic” symbol. The “organic” symbol is a mark which is earned. It means the company has kept chemicals away from the crop at all times, and that it can produce records which trace the crop from the field where the plants were grown to the place of purchase by you, the buyer. You can expect to pay a premium for organic flax.