Many Australians choose organic food, for their own health and for the good of the planet, but labelling laws here lag behind many other countries, with no mandatory standard for the term ‘organic’. Now local consumers are being urged to have their say on changes to organic labelling.
With the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment currently reviewing the domestic organic industry regulatory framework, Australian Organic Limited is urging consumers to have their say, so that misleading and false organic claims on product labelling can be stopped.
The organisation says consumers who are frustrated with misleading claims on organic products can help shape regulatory reform to ensure authentic and accurate organic product packaging in the future.
AOL Chief Executive Officer Niki Ford said Australia is the last developed nation in the world without a mandatory domestic standard for the term ‘organic’ on product labelling.
The good news is consumers now have the power to influence change by completing a short online survey as part of the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s review of the domestic organic industry regulatory framework.
‘The Australian Organic Market Report 2021 uncovered one third of shoppers who had purchased an organic product in the past year believed they had previously been misled by organic claims on product packaging,’ said Ms Ford.
‘This is an alarming rate. Consumers deserve to know when they are making a purchase that it is authentically organic. We are strongly encouraging consumers to take five or ten minutes out of their day to have their voice heard.’
When is organic truly organic?
Ms Ford said regulating the term ‘organic’ would help build consumer confidence, promote operator credibility and deliver industry-wide economic opportunities in global and domestic markets.
‘Our certified operators work extremely hard to bring certified organic products to markets, while non-certified operators claiming to be organic may use chemicals or practises that are not allowed under organic standards,’ she said.
‘Knowing that consumers will pay a premium price for organic branded goods, uncertified operators charge more for their products, and undermine the credibility of the operators who are doing the right thing.
‘We also see our exporters facing incredible red tape and economic burden because we don’t have an equivalent domestic standard,’ said Ms Ford.
‘Exporters must meet secondary organic standards requirements for each country they wish to trade in, with each export arrangement costing an additional amount annually.
‘I am urging consumers of organic goods to support our growing $2.6 billion industry and ensure we are well positioned to capture demand both domestically and in export markets around the world,’ said Niki Ford.
Anyone can complete the survey by visiting the AOL website: austorganic.com. The survey closes on 1 February.