I’m never quite sure whether ‘organic’ products are better than ‘non-organic’. Because of the growing use of dodgy claims on product labels, Australia has long needed assurance that foods and other products labeled organic are genuine. Now a new Australian Standard has been published AS 6000-2009 Organic and biodynamic products supported by organic growers, industry bodies, certifiers, associations, consumer groups, retailers and government.
The Standard establishes a uniform framework for how to grow, produce, distribute, market and label organic and biodynamic products. Products complying with the standard must have been produced following natural, sustainable, ethical and environmentally-responsible farming practices. The Standard require
- thorough records of farming and production practices throughout all stages;
- verification of organic claims through a process of independent, third party certification;
- practices stipulated in the Standard to be applied to the land for no less than three years before any products can be labelled organic or biodynamic;
- the almost absolute restriction of pesticides and fertilisers produced from the synthetic chemicals;
- a complete ban on the use of genetically modified products;
- operators to have a farm biodiversity and landscape management plan as part of their organic management plan; and
- the use of organic and biodynamic livestock feed for livestock products labelled ‘organic’ or ‘biodynamic’.
The Australian Standard, which is currently voluntary, is based on the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service National Standard for Organic and Bio-dynamic Produce, Edition 3.3, which governs the export industry, so that the two align.
A good move.