VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, Feb 1, 2006 (CCNMatthews via COMTEX) -- Capers Community Markets, a leading Canadian natural and organic foods retailer based in Vancouver, B.C., announced today that it has been designated a certified organic retailer by Quality Assurance International (QAI).
The Organic Certification Program for Retailers, awarded by QAI, an independent third-party certification organization, recognizes compliance with the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP) Standard.
All of Capers' three Greater Vancouver locations are now certified in Produce, Bulk Grocery, and Pre-packaged goods. By achieving certification, Capers once again demonstrates its leadership in the Canadian natural and organic retail industry.
"This voluntary organic certification is another step Capers has taken to demonstrate our commitment to the integrity of our organic products from the soil to the shelf," says Kurstin Leith, Director of Operations for Capers Community Market.
In addition to all three Capers Community Market stores being certified organic, the Capers Organics product lines also meet QAI's standards. "We hope this move will encourage other retailers in the organic industry to take similar steps," says Leith.
To prepare for organic certification under QAI's Organic Certification Program for Retailers, Capers had to take several steps to meet certification criteria. It implemented an information management system capable of extensive audit trails from receiving, to storage to display.
Proper sanitary handling practices have been employed to prevent co-mingling of organic and conventional products. To provide quality customer service at certification levels, all Capers staff will receive ongoing training in Good Organic Retailing Practices.
At present, Canada does not have a national standard and certification system, but it is currently in the process of developing and implementing one. (The organic industry in B.C. is currently regulated by the COABC - Canadian Organic Association of BC). The Canada Organic Initiative Project, which has utilized successful elements from the USDA's standards, is in its final phase, and Capers has provided expertise and funding to move the project forward. The Canada Organic Initiative will benefit the organic community and consumers in BC and throughout Canada.
Capers Community Markets is Canada's leading natural and organic foods retailer with three locations in Greater Vancouver. Due to the growth of the natural and organic industry, which has been expanding annually by 20 per cent in Canada, Capers plans to open four new locations in B.C. and two locations in Alberta in the next five years. Since its founding in 1985, Capers has been an active member in its local communities through its support of local farmers and growers and several grassroots organizations and charitable causes aimed at creating positive change in the areas of community, environment, hunger and health. Throughout its history as a Vancouver-based company, Capers has raised more than $1 million for worthy non-profit organizations in the Greater Vancouver Regional District.
For more information about Capers Community Markets, please visit www.capersmarkets.com.