Q – I have noticed many businesses claiming to be organic but they are not certified, what does ACO do about this?
Unfortunately there is no regulation around the word “organic” in Australia, meaning that anyone growing produce or making a product can claim organic as long as they’re using natural methods or using at least one natural ingredient.
If a business is claiming their product to be “certified organic”, when in fact they aren’t, this is something ACO takes seriously and can follow up on. If a product is claiming to be certified organic, always remember to look for a certification logo to prove its status.
Q – Where can I find certified organic produce/products?
The Australian Organic website provides a Where to Buy Certified Organic? section under the Consumers tab. Within this section you’re able to specify what state in Australia you’re in to narrow your search. Search www.staging.austorganic.com.
If you’re in business and looking for supply of particular produce/products/ingredients, our Product Search on the ACO website is a fantastic tool and provides you access to ACO’s entire client database. Find the Product Search tool at www.aco.net.au.
Q – I purchased a product from a supermarket recently and it has the ACO logo on the product, but the product is imported from China, how can it display the ACO logo?
The ACO logo verifies the organic status of the product and not the product of origin. ACO ensures that the product is produced and certified to an organic standard recognised in Australia.
Q – Does ACO test products imported from outside Australia?
Yes. ACO has clients outside of Australia who are audited and tested (soil, water and product) during annual audits. Imported products are tested randomly as well as strategically based on known issues, recent contaminations and industry notices.
Q – If I want to apply for certification through ACO, how can I do so?
If you’re interested in applying for certification, it is best you contact the office on (07) 3350 5716 or firstname.lastname@example.org so we can discuss your operation and find out what category you would fall under (i.e. producer/processor/retailer). After contacting the office you will receive an Information Kit which includes all relevant application documentation, a current Fee Schedule and an electronic copy of the current ACO Standard.
Q – How long does it take to become certified?
For a producer operation it can take up to 3 years of organic management practices to become fully certified organic, depending on the information you can provide (if you can prove the operation has been organically managed for a certain period of time, the duration can be shorter).
There is no conversion period for processors/wholesalers/retailers. All producer and processor applications need to go through an application review, onsite inspection and certification review prior to gaining any form of organic status.