National Post | News

Inside the enormous Whole Foods Market in Oakville, west of Toronto, a red and yellow streaked Honeycrisp is plucked from the top of an orchard’s worth of apples in wooden crates near the entrance.

A round sticker near its stem says: “Certified Organic.” At $7.68 a kilo, four of them cost $6.51. Firm, juicy and sufficiently tart, it’s a tasty apple, to be sure.

But what does that sticker mean?

It might mean a lot. And it might mean almost nothing.

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Annual organic agricultural sales in Canada exceed $2.6-billion, by recent estimates, with supermarket chains joining alternative stores in stocking an ever-widening array of organic-labelled products.

As the popularity of organic food explodes in Canada, it has drawn new scrutiny that raises questions over its authenticity, meaning and value.

It is the authenticity of organic food labelling that forms the core of an excoriating report this month from…

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