Are you wondering what products labelled as in-conversion are?

In-conversion produce can’t be traded on the organic market as certified organic, as it is the status given to producers when they are in their second year of converting to organic. So while some growers start to market their product as organic during this stage, they don’t have full A-grade status yet, so they can’t sell their product under the fully certified organic label for both domestic and export markets.

What does in-conversion mean?

Inconversion is the period of time a farmer is in before they can be fully certified organic. It’s like training wheels – they’re transitioning to certified organic. During the inconversion period they must adhere 100% to the Australian Certified Organic Standard.

Inconversion farmers cannot use prohibited chemicals and other inputs, they must free range animals on natural pasture, not using antibiotics or hormones and adhere to the strict animal welfare guidelines as required by the Standard.

How long are products inconversion?

Farmers have to be inconversion for two years before being fully certified organic. If a farmer can prove through detailed management plans and soil tests that they’ve been farming organically for at least three year previously then they only need to be inconversion for one year.

How do you know farmers aren’t using chemical sometimes?

Farmers are audited onsite each year and undergo spot checks to make sure they’re not using chemicals. They need to show auditors paperwork of all their inputs and outputs.

Australian Certified Organic tests hundreds of certified organic fresh and dried products each year for pesticide residues to make sure it is what it says it is.

How do I know that the farm hasn’t got contaminated soil?

As part of the very first audit that takes place on a farm, auditors test the soil for chemical residue. If there is residues in the soil the farm can’t be certified organic.

If the residue only affects a small part of the property, for example an old sheep dip, the rest of the farm can be certified organic but the contaminated area must be fenced off from the rest of the property.

Why are inconversion products on the market?

It makes sense to support farmers who are already growing organically and allow them to sell inconversion products on the marketplace. The only difference between their product and one that is fully certified organic is time.

Farming organically can significantly increase their costs because they can only use organic inputs (such as certified organic animal feed) or manually weed – so why not support their efforts?

How can I tell if a product is inconversion?

Inconversion products will wear a stippled version of the Australian Certified Organic logo. (insert logo)

Read about a farmer who is inconversion.