Spot the difference

Written by Bec Dudley

This month I am going to share about the word “organic” and how it is used in the current market and how you can spot the difference between “perceived marketed organic” and “actual organic” produce.

Consumers purchasing organic products should be able to feel confident that the ingredients are in fact organic. Misleading, false or deceptive organic claims are against the law.

What are organic foods?

Organic foods are grown without artificial pesticides, fertilisers or herbicides. Organic meat, eggs, and dairy products are obtained from animals that are fed natural feed and not given hormones or antibiotics. Natural foods are free from synthetic or artificial ingredients or additives.

What is an organic claim?

An organic claim is any claim that describes a product as organic, or the ingredients used to make a product as organic. For example, ‘100% organic’, ‘made using organic ingredients’ or ‘certified organic’.

Products labelled as organic generally attract a premium price compared to those produced using artificial fertiliser, chemicals or pesticides and non-essential food additives or processing aids.

Organic certification is not legally required for a product supplied in Australia to be described as organic. However, businesses that make any organic claims must be able to substantiate those claims.

Organic products standard

Organic products intended for the Australian market are not required to be certified in order to be labelled ‘organic’.

However, there is a voluntary standard for growers and manufacturers wishing to label products as ‘organic’ and ‘biodynamic’ for sale within Australia (AS6000-2015). As it is a voluntary standard, businesses do not necessarily have to meet the requirements of this standard in order to label and sell their products as ‘organic’ within Australia.

Certified products

Many products carry a symbol, logo or other trademark to show that they are certified organic. This certification is provided by various private bodies and the minimum standards required to get certification may vary.

A business that labels its product as certified organic must ensure that its product is actually certified.

Tips when buying organic

• Read labels carefully to see which ingredients in the product are organic.
• Ask the business about any certification used and do some research if you are unfamiliar with it.
• If no certification is used, ask the business to explain how its processes ensure its product is organic.

If you think you have been misled

Make a consumer complaint to:

Till next month,
Live a Simple, Happy and Healthy Life!