|Media Release — Friday 3 December 2021
Domestic market regulation is essential
First steps to better organic regulations
Organic Industries of Australia (OIA) welcomes the announcement from the Australian Government on consultations to improve the regulation of organic products.
One of the main reasons the organic industry originally established OIA was to lobby the Government for better domestic regulation of the use of the term ‘organic’. Since 2018, we have consistently advised Government that the lack of domestic regulation is:
- bad for organic consumers, in that there is no protection from products being sold in Australia as organic when they may well have been produced using synthetic fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides
- bad for organic producers who have additional production costs and certification requirements, and who currently have to compete with products that are labelled ‘organic’, but which are not certified organic
- bad for organic exporters, whose access to markets is constrained because many of our trading partners think the lack of domestic regulation undermines the case for accepting our organic exports
In Australia, the term ‘organic’ is not regulated as it is in the United States, Japan and China. It is legal to produce a product and call it ‘organic’ without providing the consumer with any proof that it is actually organic. In fact, Australia is the only advanced country that doesn’t regulate use of the term ‘organic’ or is well-progressed in implementing such regulation.
OIA is glad to participate in the Minister’s Organic Industry Advisory Group (OIAG), but we would like to see OIAG expanded to include a balanced representation of organic operators from each of the six certifying organisations.
OIA will be advocating strongly for the adoption of world leading regulations, including:
- consistent domestic and export regulation, to minimize certification costs and improve market access for our exporters
- legal enforcement that ‘organic’ means all stages of production have been certified as using organic methods
- better governance arrangements, so consumers and producers can have confidence in the regulatory system
- better information sources, so the industry and decision makes can have confidence in organic market information
Organic Industries of Australia
Organic Industries of Australia
About Organic Industries of Australia
OIA Ltd (website) is the independent peak body representing all Australian organic operators, regardless of which certifier provides their organic certification. Our members include some of Australia’s largest organic certifiers, producers and exporters, including Bellamy’s Organic, NASAA Organic, ACO Certification, Organic Food Chain, OBE Organic, Hancock Agriculture, Paris Creek Farms, Rural Organics, Queen, Norco Foods, Rosnay Organics, Australian Organic Meats, Adams Australia, and Pure Harvest.
OIA Ltd was founded after the Australian Government Department of Agriculture led a process of preliminary discussions with the organic industry over the period of September – December 2016. This tested the waters on the interest of the industry in working together to increase the competitiveness of the Australian organics sector.
During 2017 and 2018, the Australian Organic Industry Working Group (AOIWG) was formed and developed a roadmap to improve the representation of Australia's organic industry (link). The AOIWG consisted of industry leaders from across Australia collaborating on establishing a harmonised national voice for all organic producers, certifiers and the supply chain.
In an expression of unity at the Love Organic symposium (14&15 February 2018 in Canberra), Australia’s organic industries agreed to establish a peak body that is the voice for Australia’s organic industries for policy and market access and OIA Ltd was born.