AFTER nearly 12 years of discussion and two years of hard work, The Organic Industry Standards & Certification Council (OISCC) and the Organic Federation of Australia (OFA)  announced the new National Organic Mark last month.
“Like the USDA Organic and EU organic Seals, this logo will become the international trademark for organic certified product from Australia,” said OFA Chairman, Adam Willson.
The reason the OFA had been lobbying so hard for the National Organic Mark, explained Mr Willson, was because the organisation understood how important it was for making businesses more efficient.
He outlines significant reasons below:

REDUCING CERTIFICATION COSTS: 

Many producers and processors have multiple certifications if they wish to access different country markets.
Examples of this include the US National Organic Programme (NOP), Japan (JAS), South Korea, China and EU.
Each of these certifications not only cost money but tie up the businesses with audits for days on end. This time away from their business comes at a significant cost.
With the National Organic Mark now in place, Australia can begin the process of getting equivalencies with each of our trading countries.
This is an acceptance of each country’s organic standards. This will mean that once an equivalency is in place the operator will only have to be certified with one of the six certifying bodies accredited to the Federal Government to gain access to export markets.
Currently the South Korean equivalency is nearing completion, the China equivalence has begun side-by-side analysis and the US and Australian governments have begun discussions. This is good news for Australian organic businesses.

WE NEED TO MARKET OURSELVES

To date if you are an Australian exporter wanting access to Asian markets, you will need to be certified through the US National Organic Program (NOP), JAS or EU.
Countries throughout Asia recognise government endorsed National Organic Marks and by adopting other countries logos we are in effect marketing their products.
The Australian National Organic Mark will create a new impetus for consumers wanting food from the “cleanest continent in the world”.

GIVE CONSUMERS ONE LOGO TO LOOK FOR

As more national supermarkets and leading organic retailers adopt the National Organic Mark, consumers will become more aware of organic food and the industry will flourish.
Rather than looking for one of six certification logos the consumer will be directed to one.
When the US introduced the National Seal in late 2002, the industry grew to $US43.3B by 2015 – a year-on-year growth of 13.4 per cent per annum.
If the Australian organic market is worth $2B in 2016 this means the organic industry could grow to at least $3.3B by 2020.

PROTECTING THE WORD ‘ORGANIC’

The introduction of the National Organic Mark will help improve the legislative environment to protect the organic industry.
The National Organic Mark is a Certification Trade Mark (CTM) which is underpinned by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
This is the first step in recognising the word organic and protecting the industry against fraud.

THE RULES OF USE FOR THE NATIONAL ORGANIC MARK

The National Organic Mark is owned by OISCC and registered as a trademark through IP Australia. It will very shortly be approved as a CTM by the ACCC. The complete rules of use can be viewed HERE
Some key items regarding the use of the National Organic Mark include:

  • It can only be used on Certified Organic Products that comply with the National Organic Standards – the same as the USDA   National Organic Program (NOP)
  • It is Voluntary and free to use – the same as the USDA NOP
  • It can be applied to products under equivalency – eg Korean Government Approved Certification bodies can allow their operators to use the Mark on organic produce (the same as the USDA NOP)
  • The Mark is strictly controlled and all certifiers must report annually on the number of operators applying the Mark (the same as the USDA NOP)
  • The Certifiers must enter into a license agreement with each operator before the Mark can be applied to any products
  • The Mark must appear in either Black or Green PMS 348.
  • The Mark will be allowed for use on products / goods containing 95 per cent and above certified organic ingredients.
  • Must have the words ‘Made in’ or ‘Produce of’

When is it available and who can apply for it?

The National Organic Mark logo became available for use last month for any organic business that is certified through one of the six nationally accredited certifiers.
These include Ausqual, Australian Certified Organic, Demeter, NASAA Certified Organic, Organic Food Chain and Safe Food QLD.
If your business is interested in applying the National Organic Mark to your product labels then OFA Chairman, Adam Willson urges you to contact your certifier to begin the process.

17/08/2016