certified organic apples on a tree

Certified Organic - Let's clarify the confusion

Organic is becoming a buzzword, widely used across many products we see every day - from food to make up, from shampoo to sheets. So what does 'certified organic' mean, and how does it impact you and your child?

First, let's unpack these two words - 'certified' and 'organic'. Put simply, 'organic' products are created free from synthetic inputs, such as synthetic chemicals - crops are free from synthetic pesticides for example. 'Certified' means that an independent body declares that the process of production meets its criteria to be deemed 'organic'.

An organic product can only be certified in Australia by one of five approved, independent certifying organisations as listed by the Australian Department of Agriculture, which can be found here.

The confusion arises as the term 'organic' is not currently regulated in Australia.1 Simply Goodness products are all certified organic, certified by Australian Certified Organic, an approved certifier and Australia's largest organic certifier. At Simply Goodness, we understand the rigorous processes required to become certified organic. Some of the requirements are:

  • A farm must have 3 years under organic management to be considered certified organic.3
  • Farmers are required to conduct ongoing soil tests for nutrient and organic matters.4
  • GMO products and inputs are not permitted.5
  • Synthetic and non-certified organic inputs and products must be segregated to ensure they do not contaminate certified organic products.
  • The full chain of organic supply, from farmer to producers, must be documented to track certified organic inputs through to the end product. For example: A packet of Simply Goodness 6 months Apple Puree can be traced back to the farm on which the apple was grown, and when it was picked, packed and distributed to Simply Goodness.
  • Certifications are audited periodically by an independent auditor to ensure processes comply with the certifiers' organic criteria.

So, what is not certified organic? Home grown tomatoes from the vege-patch, some produce from local farmers markets and other organic labelled products without certification icons. Whilst such produce may not be certified, it may still be yummy to eat and good for you. The difference is that this produce has not gone through the strict standards which certified farmers and producers must adhere to.

Hopefully we have clarified the confusion on the word 'organic' used across products in the market.

Last week, we read an interesting article published in The Guardian, which discussed a new peer-reviewed study led by researchers at The University of California "to investigate the impact of organic diet…in urine of adults and children".6 The research found a dramatic contrast of detectable levels of malathion, a synthetic pesticide. More findings and health impacts from this research can be found in this article: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/feb/15/what-the-pesticides-in-our-urine-tell-us-about-organic-food

It is worth noting that Australian Certified Organic (ACO) prohibits not just synthetic pesticides - which includes malathion, it also prohibits the use of rotenone, an organic pesticide.7

Whilst we use certified organic produce in our full range of products, and we promote the use of certified organic produce, we are not lab coat wearing research scientists, conducting research for medical journals. We are not experts on chemicals and its uses and impacts, so we cannot provide advice on the health impacts and benefits of consuming certified organic produce. We simply make your baby or toddler feeding time simple and good.

 

References:

1 Department of Agriculture and Water Resources 2017, Organic and biodynamic produce, accessed 1-Mar-2019, <http://www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/food/organic-biodynamic>.

2 ACO Certification Ltd 2019, FAQ - Certification Questions, accessed 1-Mar-2019, <https://www.aco.net.au/Pages/FAQ/FAQCertification.aspx>.

3 ACO Certification Ltd 2017, Australian Certified Organic Standard 2017 v1, accessed 1-Mar-2019, <https://austorganic.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/ACOS_2017_V1.pdf> paragraph 3.1.10.

ACO Certification Ltd 2017, Australian Certified Organic Standard 2017 v1, accessed 1-Mar-2019, <https://austorganic.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/ACOS_2017_V1.pdfparagraph 4.2.12.

ACO Certification Ltd 2017, Australian Certified Organic Standard 2017 v1, accessed 1-Mar-2019, <https://austorganic.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/ACOS_2017_V1.pdfparagraph 4.1.8. 

6 Science Direct 2019, Organic diet intervention significantly reduces pesticide levels in U.S. children and adults, accessed 1-Mar-2019, <https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935119300246>.

ACO Certification Ltd 2017, Australian Certified Organic Standard 2017 v1, accessed 1-Mar-2019, <https://austorganic.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/ACOS_2017_V1.pdfparagraph 4.5.4.