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13/10/2009

New organic standards: clarifying the claims

The introduction of a new Australian Standard for organic and biodynamic produce last week has been welcomed by the Biological Farmers of Australia organisation.

BFA Standards Convenor Dr Andrew Mond says it will complement existing standards and certification arrangements, such as the National Standard for Organic and Biodynamic Produce.

“The new national standard will assist in plugging the now fairly small gaps in the marketplace where uncertified product, or product with questionable organic integrity claims, have eluded industry and the courts to date," he said.

He says the standard will assist current industry efforts to protect consumers’ interests.

“Significantly, while the new standard will remain voluntary, it will be, in concert with other relevant standards, a benchmark against which the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission can investigate fraud and mislabelling in the marketplace, and this is to be welcomed.

“Discerning consumers will need to continue to read labels and marketing claims, and only buy a product if it is clearly labelled with a certification mark, for example, the Australian Certified Organic Bud logo.

"Such consumers are then protected under current law, with precedents already established for large fines for companies found to be labelling in a misleading manner.”

The new standard covers preparation, production, marketing, labelling and transportation of organic and biodynamic produce and products.

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