Consumers urged to look out for misleading packaging on organic products
The valuable work of Australian organic producers will once more be highlighted throughout September during Australian Organic Awareness Month (AOAM).
The annual event emphasises the importance of consumers to always look for an official certification logo such as the ‘Bud’ when purchasing products that claim to be organic.
Currently in Australia the use of the word ‘organic’ is not defined, so for the past 18 months Australian Organic Limited – the nation’s peak industry body – has been working with Government and industry to progress the discussion for a mandatory regulation aligned to Australian export requirements. The government is currently considering a number of regulatory pathways to achieve this common sense approach and align Australia with international standards.
“At the moment being certified organic within Australia is a voluntary process, however any producer or manufacturer can claim a product is organic on its packaging with as little as one ingredient being from organic origins,” said Australian Organic CEO Niki Ford.
“Enforcing domestic regulation around the use of this word will give producers, manufacturers and consumers much greater clarity that the product they are purchasing has been rigorously audited against a high-quality standard.”
AOAM ambassador Lincoln Lewis, who has been on a personal health and wellness journey over the last 12 months, has been learning more about the Australian organic industry in the lead up to the campaign. The popular actor and healthy living advocate will be sharing his knowledge with consumers during September and encouraging people to try organic products and produce.
Mr Lewis has visited numerous organic businesses in his home state of Queensland including Kialla Pure Foods, Arcadian (Cleaver’s Organic Meat), Fordsdale Organic Farms, Market Organics and Sherwood Rd Organic Meats. He has also learnt about the rapidly growing organic product range stocked at Coles and Woolworths.
“I’ve been really impressed with the passion, care and commitment displayed by all the organic producers I’ve visited,” said Mr Lewis. “It’s great to know the consumer is being listened to and these businesses are leading the way for a healthier and more sustainable future.
“So much effort goes into ensuring a product is certified organic. As someone who regularly purchases organic, seeing the Bud logo and knowing a product is genuinely organic is very reassuring.”
The Australian organic industry is currently worth $2.6 billion and growing year on year. Ms Ford said organic businesses have continued to perform well this year despite the challenges of COVID-19.
Australian demand for certified organic products is skyrocketing with $1.93 billion dollars generated in domestic sales for 2018 across a wide range of products according to the Australian Organic Market Report 2019. The figure is up $256 million from domestic sales of $1.67 billion for 2017.
This strong growth has been driven by consumer appetite for natural, pesticide-free and synthetic chemical-free wholesome food and a growing awareness of environmentally sustainable practices.
To learn more about how you can get involved this September, visit the Australian Organic Awareness Month website: whyorganic.com.au