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The Australia's Certified Organic Industry

This article has been republished from Australian Organic. Read the original article.

Leading voices from Australia’s  certified organic industry have told a federal inquiry into food and beverage manufacturing they are being held back by Australia’s world-lagging approach to labelling laws.

The peak industry group, Australian Organic Limited (AOL), and Australia’s largest certification body, ACO Certification Limited, were flanked at the public hearing in Brisbane by representatives from high-profile brands including Barambah Organics, Nerada Tea, Kehoe’s Kitchen, Trumps Organics, Inglewood Farms and Hive+Wellness Australia.

AOL Chief Executive Officer, Niki Ford, told the inquiry Australia was the only nation in the OECD without a legislated definition of the word organic, which has opened the door to misleading claims on labelling from some operators, undercut those who go through the rigorous certification and auditing process, and created costly red tape for certified producers exporting products to Australia’s biggest trading partners.

“There is no definition around what can be claimed as organic,” Ms Ford told the Committee.

“If you look at the ACCC website, one definition is for organic, and one is for certified organic. That’s the challenge. Even if you have one organic ingredient, or a very small percentage, you can put organic on your packaging.

Ms Ford said if Australia had a domestic mandate, it would unlock export markets because trading partners would be open to granting equivalency to Australian-certified products. Currently exporters must seek certification in each market.

IMAGE CAPTION: Addressing the Parliamentary Inquiry into Food and Beverage Manufacturing in Australia (from left), Inglewood Farms Managing Director, Katrina Hobbs, Kehoe’s Kitchen Director, Katrina Kehoe, Nerada Tea CEO, Stewart Le Bon, Hive & Wellness Australia Chief Operations Manager, Dr Ben McKee, Barambah Organics CEO, Chris Elliot, ACO Certification Ltd CEO Mark Shaw, Trumps Managing Director, Declan Dart and Australian Organic Limited CEO, Niki Ford.

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