Rule change will allow faster certification

DSC_2966 copyAs the country’s largest and most recognised organic certification body, Australian Certified Organic plays a significant role in maintaining the overarching national organic standard in Australia, the National Standard for Organic and Bio-dynamic Produce, managed by the Organic Industry Standards and Certification Council (OISCC).

As a result of Australian Certified Organic’s input, the OISCC is proposing three changes that will give the National Standard clarity and also more consistency with international organic standards.

The proposed changes relate to conversion periods, testing and poultry.

Under its proposal, producers would be able to go straight into In Conversion status. Currently it takes three years to become certified organic and a producer can only enter into In Conversion status once they have been in ‘precertification’ for 12 months. Under the proposal, this 12-month period will be removed. If a producer verifies the property has been under organic management for the previous three years, certified organic status can be granted after the 12-month In Conversion period.

This is an exciting development and is especially good news for certified organic producers who want to add additional land to their operations. It’s a change Australian Certified Organic has requested for some time.

The Australian Certified Organic Standard would follow suit if the changes were made. Chief certification officer Michael Baker, says the change would bring Australia into line with international organic standards, make Australian organic producers more competitive on the international market and give producers converting to organic a market to sell In Conversion produce.

The OISCC is also proposing to amend the National Standard to require Australia’s organic certification bodies to test for residues on a minimum of five per cent of their certified operators’ products. Australian Certified Organic already tests five per cent of its clients’ products for residues. Find out more about the latest results here.

Australian Certified Organic’s continued encouragement to amend the National Standard to introduce stocking rates equivalent to the European Union and those in the Australian Certified Organic Standard has produced pleasing results. The OISCC proposes to achieve stocking rates parity as well as allow the restricted use of an amino acid methionine in poultry feed.

This reflects a recognised need by many chicken producers to manage animal welfare and balance the nutritional needs of their birds in a business where certified organic feed and supplements are in very short supply.

These proposals are open for public comment until October 26. You can view them at the OISCC’s Current submissions under review. Australian Certified Organic will notify clients of any changes made.

For other Australian Certified Organic news click here.