Q: What is the definition of organic food?
A: Organic food is food that is a holistic approach to growing and handling food. It includes growing food without the presence of pesticides, fertilisers, chemicals and GMOs. Organic food is taking over Australia, with Roy Morgan reporting than six in every 10 Aussies have bought organic food in the last year.
What does organic certification mean?
Within Australia, there are six approved organic certifiers.
- Australian Certified Organic
- Biodynamic research institute
- Nasaa certified organic
- Organic Food Chain
- Safe Food Production Queensland
The Australian Certified Organic (ACO) certification is the most recognised in Australia which holds its produces to the highest of standards through a rigorous audit and third-party process. It takes operators, suppliers, wholesalers and contractors at least one year as the soil must be tested to ensure there is no presence of chemicals.
The process includes:
- Vendor submits relevant information and documentation.
- Applicants are recommended to submit a number of tests depending on product/region.
- An auditor will assess and test both products and procedures including soil and product testing.
- All information will be reviewed by ACO and once approved a completed certificate will be provided.
- Vendors must submit labels to be approved by the ACO certification team.
- Each new product or crop that is grown needs to be submitted for product approval.
- Annual audits will occur in order for the certification to be valid
Health benefits of organic food
Whilst nutritionists recommend organic produce as in theory it contains less additives and chemicals than non-organic food there is no credible information available to back up these claims. In Australia, organic food also comes with a hefty price tag, the certification and farming method is expensive. Organic food doesn’t last as long as without the presence of sprays it ripens quickly.
The environmental benefits of eating organic food include but aren’t limited to improving soil health, composting helps to decrease the production of greenhouses gases and to eliminate chemical and fertiliser use keeps it out of water supplies.
Where to buy?
The organic section in your local supermarket is a good place to start, although it is often riddled with unnecessary plastic. Alternatively, look out for the organic food certification at your local farmer's markets. There are also a couple of delivery services that provide fresh organic food straight to your door.