NEW research from the University of Adelaide has found that despite growing interest from Australian consumers to make ethical food choices, most find food labelling inadequate.

It’s a subject Australia’s leading organic certifier, the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Australia (NASAA) has long been aware of.

NASAA General Manager Ben Copeman said while many products claim to be ‘organic’ the only way for consumers to be 100 per cent sure is to look for a ‘certified organic’ label issued by an approved certifier.

Mr Copeman said most Australian consumers would be unaware of what it takes to produce high quality organic produce and that there was a significant difference between products labelled ‘certified organic’ and products labelled ‘organic’.

“Consumers need to be aware that only products labelled ‘certified organic’ are 100 per cent free of GMOs, hormones, additives, chemicals residues and synthetic fertilisers.

“Organic products in Australia are certified to a voluntary National Standard by one of five private certifiers, who then apply their own certified organic labels to products,” he said.

“Certified organic products carry a certification logo and certification number. This is the customer’s assurance that there is a third party verification of the integrity of every step of the production process, from paddock to plate.

“On the other hand, products that are merely labelled ‘organic’ may not be free of chemical residue or may be fully imported and packaged in Australia, with the ingredients unlikely to be certified to an internationally recognised standard such the Australian Standard.”

The National Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Australia (NASAA) was formed in 1986 and supports the education of industry and consumers on organic, biodynamic and sustainable agricultural practices.

  • NASAA was Australia’s first organic certifier.
  • Today, its certification arm, NASAA Certified Organic (NCO), provides certification and inspection services to assist Certified Organic operators access every organic market in the World.
  • NCO is the largest certifier of agricultural land in the world. NCO certifies more than 1,000 operations in 13 countries, certifying some 12m ha of agricultural land worldwide.
  • In early 2014 NASAA became the first foreign certifier approved to inspect Australian based operations for certification to Chinese Organic Regulations for direct export to China.
  • In August 2015 Ben Copeman, General Manager of NASAA was named the Australia China Business Council (ACBC) 2015 Industry Leader of the Year at the South Australia, China and Hong Kong Business Awards.