Australia gets tougher on terms ‘organic’ and ‘natural’
Transparency is gets a boost with two new moves around the use of the terms ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ requiring product manufacturers and marketers to back up their claims.
Australian Organic expects the use of the term ‘organic’ to also be regulated this year, according to CEO Niki Ford.
“Currently, products that are labelled with the words ‘certified Organic’ are required to demonstrate a certification mark, this will not change. However, the word ‘organic’ can be used on an any product ranging from single ingredients making up as little as one per cent or made using organic ingredients,” she says.
“While Australia was one of the first countries to create an organic standard outside of Europe, it is currently out of step with global domestic standards and is the last developed country not to have regulations around the use of the word organic.”
“Anything exported from Australia that uses the word ‘organic’ has to be certified however within Australia our consumers don’t have the same certainty when purchasing a product as the same rules don’t apply,” Niki says.
“It has been an complex framework to navigate, with multiple layers of government & industry involved however our number one strategic goal is domestic regulation, which means that you can’t use the word ‘organic’ unless you are certified to a national standard, which is owned by the Department of Agriculture.”
Brands will now have to meet a certain criteria to legally market a product as ‘natural’ following the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) regulation of the term in late 2019. For a product to be considered ‘natural’ its raw ingredients must be found in nature, have undergone minimal processing, have the same chemical compound as the ingredient in the finished product and not have undergone any chemical conversion or modification.
The TGA believes certain goods claiming to be ‘natural’ can influence the purchasing choices of a proportion of consumers.
To avoid misleading advertising, the new regulations will require brands to provide sufficient information about the meaning of a ‘natural’ related claim.