Don’t confuse natural with organic

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Many Australians confuse claims of natural and eco with certified organic.

Natural and eco labels are potentially misleading because the authenticity of their claims is not regulated. Certified organic is a regulated industry with standards that are monitored by industry regulators such as Australian Certified Organic. Natural isn’t. The ACCC doesn’t regulate the definition of the words natural or eco.

Food and drinks with natural or eco claims don’t have to be produced under strict conditions. To be certified organic, ingredients and the product must be produced cruelty free, be pasture fed, socially responsible, free range, biodiversity friendly, GM free and grown free from synthetic pesticides, herbicides, hormones and antibiotics.

Australian Certified Organic products and businesses are regularly and randomly audited every year to ensure their ongoing compliance with industry standards.

Beauty products

In the cosmetics and skincare industry, Australian Certified Organic allows for the use of some ‘natural’ ingredients. The mineral or marine sourced ingredients used in the industry are not farmed and therefore can’t be certified organic.

These ingredients are an important part of a formula acting as surfactants, moisturisers or preservatives. To be certified organic, manufactured food or drinks must contain 95 per cent or more certified organic ingredients. Products that contain between 70 and 95 per cent can be labelled ‘made with organic ingredients’.

If the organic content is below this percentage, a product can’t get organic certification and manufacturers sometimes call it natural or eco.

So if you want to be sure what you’re buying is really natural or eco read the ingredients on the label or, better still, look for the Australian Certified Organic logo.