01.Australian Standard for organic industry
An Australian Standard for organic and biodynamic products has been developed to help consumers buy the real deal.
Manufacturers and producers who wish to label their “organic” or “biodynamic” products as complying with the standard must meet the minimum requirements. These include procedures to be followed for production, preparation, transportation, marketing and labelling.
The organics industry has burgeoned over the years, with demand for organic products securing their place in major supermarkets around the country. But with the rise in popularity – and prices – has come the increase in false and misleading claims, prompting the development of a national and consistent approach.
CEO of Standards Australia John Tucker says shoppers have been faced with as many as eight different organic certification schemes (such as the Organic Growers of Australia and the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia), each with individual requirements for growers and producers. “As well as (the) many non-certified products that claim to be ‘organic’ on the shelves, it’s hardly surprising how difficult it is to know what is actually organic.”
“The Australian Standard establishes a uniform framework for how to grow, produce, distribute, market and label organic and biodynamic products. Consumers can be sure that products complying with this standard have been produced following natural, sustainable, ethical and environmentally-responsible farming practices,” Tucker says.
CHOICE worked with Standards Australia and members of the organic industry to develop the new standard out of concern for the lack of standards for organic foods produced, manufactured and sold in Australia. Consumers were protected to some degree by an Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service standard but this was designed to meet the requirements of the countries who buy our exported organic food.
“The new standard will improve the situation for Australian consumers who buy organic food,” says Clare Hughes, CHOICE’s Senior Food Policy Officer and representative on the Standards Australia committee. “Consumers should still look for products carrying organic certification logos because they will meet the standards. But they can also look for products claiming to meet the new Australian Standard AS6000.”
The new standard is not compulsory but will better equip the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission to take action against false “organic” claims.