Does organic labelling leave you baffled? Well we're not surprised, it can be a little confusing.
It's amazing how many products feature the word 'organic' on their packaging, or even as part of its brand, only to list chemical additives and preservatives in their list of ingredients.
It's important you know what you're buying when it comes to the world of 'organics' and there's a range of categories which you'll see in use in our Store. The Organic Store is a proud member of Australian Organic, Australia's largest representative group of organic food and farming. We've included a number of their informative resources throughout this site.
The majority of the products in our store are Certified Organic, which means they have met the requirements of the Australian organic standard (more details below). However, we also stock products which more simply contain Organic Ingredients, may be Chemical-Free or Plant-Based. We've labelled these types of products clearly so you know which category they fall under.
Products which have been certified organic means that all stages of production, processing and marketing have been inspected and have met the requirements of the Australian organic standard. The term 'organic', in relation to food and fibre production, is defined in the Australian Standard for Organic and Biodynamic Products (AS6000) and in the Australian Certified Organic Standard (ACOS). Copies of these standards can be found at Australian Organic
The word organic refers to produce that is grown and processed without the use of synthetic chemicals, fertilisers or GMOs – organic farming focuses on using environmentally sustainable methods – prevention rather than a cure. By setting up eco-systems that stop disease, organic farmers prevent a need for chemical-based pesticides.
Organic food and products are not just chemical-free. Organic producers take a holistic approach to production and handling, and the whole system is linked. Soil. Plants. Animals. Food. People. Environment. Health.
For those of you wanting to ensure that you are consuming genuine organic produce, choose products which have been certified organic. You'll see them labelled as certified organic in this Store, but otherwise look for trusted logos as the Australian Certified Organic "Bud" logo or the NASAA Certified Organic logo. These symbols demonstrate that produce has met and, in some important areas, exceeded minimum government requirements.
Australian Organic has recently released the Australian Organic Guide, which is an easy-to-read consumer guide to the Australian organic industry and organic standards. You can download your free copy here: Australian Organic Guide, 2013 (3MB)
While there is stringent criteria for specific food and product types, in general, certified organic products:
- must contain at least 95% certified organic ingredients (the other ingredients (<5%) must be non-GM and non-irradiated, not available organically, and should only be a natural ingredient)
- are stored, handled and processed separately to non-organic product to prevent cross-contamination
- ensure that everyone involved in the production process (growers, processors, packers etc) are certified
This means that only some of the product's ingredients are deemed to be organic. There are no requirements for a producer to state which percentage of ingredients are organic - it could range from 70% to 10%.
The products in this Store which are classified as containing organic ingredients have the ingredients listed and those which are claimed as organic are marked. If you are seeking more information about the composition of any product on this website, we suggest you either drop us a line or otherwise make direct contact with the manufacturer.
Some products may not technically contain any 'organic' ingredients, but they consist of natural ingredients (such as essential oils, plants, herbs, food etc) and are free from chemicals. The list of potential chemicals that can be found in products is endless and quite frankly frightening. This category applies most to cleaning products where unfortunately, most of the common brand names are full of ingredients you can't pronounce and you wouldn't want near your skin!
Of all the things in our homes, cleaning products probably contain some of the most noxious chemicals! Using natural alternatives is just as effective, and keeps the home environment safe and hygienic for pets, kids and adults alike. These plant-based products clean, deodorize, disinfect and many are multi-functional, meaning that you just need one cleaner for a number of tasks! They are also better for those with sensitive skin and allergies.
Plant-based products are those, you guessed it, which derived from plant materials.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical compound which is found in many household products, including polycarbonate plastics, inside food and beverage containers, baby bottles, children's toys, utensils, kitchen appliances, CDs, DVDs, linings of food and drink cans, nail polishes, composite dental filings, printer ink and carbonless paper such as cash register receipts.
There's been a lot of media in recent times about BPA and has a result, consumers have shyed away from purchasing BPA products. However, it's still being used and it's still not banned from baby bottles in Australia.
Fair Trade is a trading partnership that seeks greater equality in international trade. It is based on respect and transparency and contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalised producers and workers.
Fair Trade encourages consumers to think about the welfare of the people behind the products they're consuming - by purchasing fair trade products, you are making a real difference to fair trade farmers and workers in developing countries.
Fair Trade means a better future for producers, workers, their families and communities. It can help in a variety of ways, including helping communities build better roads, access health care and send their kids to school. Fair Trade also enables them to grow and develop their businesses, ensuring they can improve life for their families and communities well into the future.
The Fair Trade products in The Organic Store are sourced through dedicated Australian-based social enterprises whose mission is to help tackle poverty through the trading relationships they have established with communities in developing countries. We know first-hand the Fair Trade suppliers that we use, and we can proudly say that they are extremely passionate about making a difference and we're pleased to play a small part in assisting in their goal of developing new products and markets in order to improve the welfare and disadvantaged communities.
This means that the product is proudly produced in Australia. While the overwhelming majority of ingredients are found locally, there are occasions where some ingredients must be sourced from beyond our shores (listed in the ingredients section of each product).