What’s in your wee?


Andy_and_family_editc6435c6576e7I had one of those grateful moments this morning eating breakfast with my kids. We tucked into muesli with milk and scrambled eggs and toast. Everything was certified with Australian Certified Organic. I had peace of mind that I was actively limiting my kids’ exposure to synthetic chemical residues, while also reflecting on how much easier it is now to buy organic produce from a wide variety of market outlets.

RMIT researchers Liza Oates and Marc Cohen tested the urine of adults. They found adults who lived on at least an 80 per cent organic diet for a week had significantly lower organophosphate pesticide residues in their urine than those who ate a diet of conventional foods. This peer-reviewed study was published in Environmental Research in April. It was a simple study but could have remarkable consequences for future research and the organic industry.

Previous research shows that due to their weight and growing patterns children have a much higher risk than adults do from industrial chemicals and heavy metals, and that chemicals can have lasting effects on children’s brain development and learning.

The results of the week-long study of adults prompted the scientists to begin a ground breaking study testing the levels of organophosphates in children 14–16 years. They will study the effects the chemicals have on children’s health, behaviour and brain function.

With the support of members and the help of Australian Certified Organic levies, Australian Organic is able to sponsor ‘The Children’s Health, Behaviour and Environmental Exposure Study’. It will help fill the gap in Australian research of the link between organic diets and health. Oates and Cohen are calling for volunteers.

What’s the UK organic market up to?

The recent UK Organic Market Report shows a different story about the industry than two years ago. The country has experienced a growth (2.8%) in organic sales for the first time in four years. Contrary to other developed countries its organic sales suffered as a result of the financial downturn and are in stark contrast to Australia’s organic growth, which is 10 – 15% each year. Three point five per cent of agricultural land in the UK is organic. It’s worth a read to understand consumer and retail trends.

Australian Organic will release its biennial Australian Organic Market Report towards the end of this year. It is the most referenced publication for Australian organic statistics and trends. There are still opportunities for your business to be profiled. Talk to Joanne Barber joanne.barber@staging.austorganic.com or call 07 3350 5716.

We’re hitting the road

Meanwhile Australian Organic has been visiting clients around the country. CEO Paul Stadhams and I visited Far North Queensland (a few days before Cyclone Ita did) in April. We caught up with horticulture and grazing businesses. In addition to the Australian Certified Organic auditors in the field some of our team will be visiting South Australia, Western Australia, New South Wales and Victoria in the months ahead. We will continue to catch up with and listen to our members and producers in the field.

Keeping it mainstream

Australian Organic is also working hard to ‘mainstream’ the organic message and your certification brand.

Alongside Organic Crop Protectants and Organic Farm Gate, Australian Organic will feature prominently at the AUSVEG National Convention in Cairns, June 19–21. AUSVEG has received requests from Asian buyers looking for Australian certified organic vegetables, so if you’re a vegetable grower we strongly urge you to get involved in the Reverse Trade Mission, which introduces growers to potential buyers. Call AUSVEG 03 9882 0277 or email export@ausveg.com.au. You should also consider listing your business in a directory Australian Organic will distribute at the Convention’s trade show. It is a directory of Australian Certified Organic vegetable growers and allowed inputs that the thousands of visitors at the Convention can take home with them. Call Rochelle Crowe to find out more 07 3350 5706 or email rochelle.crowe@staging.austorganic.com

Clients of Australian Certified Organic pay levies on their sales that go towards our educational and marketing initiatives, as well as to market residue sampling and more. Following member consultation, this contribution system is being reviewed in favour of adopting a fairer alternative, particularly for smaller and medium sized producers. It is an important change on our journey to deliver more value for all our members and Australian Certified Organic clients while growing and protecting the integrity of Australian Certified Organic in the market.

We look forward to your feedback and your ongoing support.

Yours in organics,

Andrew Monk

Australian Organic