Look for the Logo

The first step when searching for a real certified organic product is to  always  look for a certified organic seal or logo. So not the words “organic” in the product name, you need to look for a real seal from a certifying body.

Starting with the Australian market there are actually 7 different AQIS approved certifying bodies. The top three, Australian certified organic (who Pure and Green organics is certified with), NASAA and OFC, these three are the certifiers of cosmetic products in Australia and they have a specific organic cosmetics standard which is separate from food. This is wonderful and Australia is leading the way in this regard. The remaining logos are generally related to food but I have included them so you become familiar with the logos for the Australian marketplace.

These logos immediately indicate to the consumer that the products have been independently verified and audited, that the brands are not making self declarations but all claims have been verified and most importantly the organic chain of integrity has not been broken. So you can trust these symbols.

The following certifiers have a unique cosmetic standard (separate to food which they also certify):

Australian certified organic, well the name says it all so its the least confusing of the three cosmetic certifiers in my opinion.  It is often abbreviated to ACO  so you will read and hear that quite often, but as the logo states, the actual name is Australian (because it’s Australian) and certified organic (because thats what it is)! so very self explantory and probably the reason ACO now certify 70% of the organic produce and products on the Australian market.

The logo example I have used is the unique processor number that belongs to Pure and Green organics.  What you can do is enter this processor number into the ACO website’s search engine  http://www.australianorganic.com.au click on organic product search and enter the processor number into the search box.  This allows you to independently verify that what we are claiming is true directly from the certifying body.

NASAA certified organic.  NASAA stands for National Association of Sustainable Agriculture Australia (a bit of a mouthful) which is why everyone will just say NASAA and I have been asked by loads of people, what does the space industry have to do with organics?  Well, nothing, its just an unfortunate coincidence that they sound alike  and now you know what NASAA really means!   Generally all NASAA certified products will  have a processor number listed alongside the logo which will allow you to verify for yourself the claims being made by the manufacturer directly from the NASAA website.  http://www.nasaa.com.au

OFC stands for Organic Food Chain.  In terms of allowed inputs OFC are a little more lenient than ACO and NASAA which is unfortunate and they therefore have certified as organic some cosmetic and food products which would have been rejected by both ACO and NASAA.  On the postive side though, they are  Australian and running on a 95/5 standard which is far better than what you will find from an overseas certifier.  They can be found at http://www.organicfoodchain.com.au

Main Points for consideration:

ACO, NASAA and OFC all work on a 95/5 standard. What this means is a minimum of 95% certified organic content by mass excluding water and salt and 5% conventional allowance. This doesn’t mean 5% toxic, conventional items are those that fall outside the definition of organic (grown in living soil) so for instance clay or minerals, or perhaps a product on the approved input list like a preservative which meets the strict organic cosmetic standard, or perhaps just a very rare plant that isn’t organically but still meets the organic code in regards to extraction methods.

In terms of conventional allowed inputs, these do vary across the different certifying bodies, and in my opinion ACO and NASAA are the highest standard in Australia.  Synthetic vitamins like pro-vitamin B5 are prohibited by both NASAA and ACO, and ingredients that contain or were extracted by toxic solvents are prohibited.  Other certifiers do not check extraction; a loophole that allows toxins in products that still get labelled “certified organic“.

The following certifiers  only  certify food, not cosmetics so their logos are included here with a brief description just for your knowledge base.

AUS -QUAL, these are a food certifier based in Queensland. AUS-QUAL Pty Ltd is wholly owned by AUS-MEAT Limited, the Australian Meat Industry Standards and Quality System Management Company. Read more at http//www.ausqual.com.au

Demeter certified  stands for Bio-Dynamic Research Institute (BDRI).  Bio-dynamic farming follows the principles of organic farming with the addition of some key soil spray and preparation techniques.  Bio-dynamics was birthed by Rudolf Steiner following a series of lectures he gave in 1924.  Steiner’s ideas have now spread around the world and debate still exists as to the methods used (burying manure in cows horns under the light of the moon for example does sound a bit odd) but the results do speak volumes – farmers claim the soil preparations work wonders.  Find out more at http:www.demeter.org.au

SFQ stands for Safe Food Production Queensland, these guys do all the mega food safety certification needed for selling a product into the major supermarkets and so can handle all your needs in one umbrella type certification.  Find out more at http//:www.safefood.qld.gov.au

TOP stands for The Tasmanian Organic Producers.

Find out more information at   http://www.tasorganicdynamic.com.au

What you will find though is that there is a high percentage of overseas certified organic cosmetic products on the Australian market so we need to look at these logos also (think Eco cert, UK Soil Association, NaTrue, Comobio  and BDIH) – but that’s for my next blog!

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1 Comment on Organic labelling – how to identify real certified organic products

  1. It is also important to note that in Australia there is no government regulation on using the word ‘organic’. Any food manufacturer can use it whether their product is organic or not. This is why it is extremely important to make sure the product shows one of the above logos, so you can be assured the product is truely organic