Organic and biodynamic produce - Organic Industry Advisory Group

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) has convened an industry advisory group to consider whether Australia’s current domestic organic regulatory system is fit for purpose to facilitate industry development.

The group will convene from January to March 2021, and an independent chair will be appointed to chair the group.

The industry advisory group discussions will only consider options for domestic regulation. It will not consider changes to the export regulatory arrangements.

Advisory Group Members

The advisory group members represent a cross-section of the organics supply chain, including organic producers, bio-dynamic producers, manufacturers, farmers markets, retailers, certifiers, consumers, importers and exporters. The members are:

Stephen Copplin (Independent Chair)
Niki Ford – Australian Organic Limited 
Dalene Wray – Organic Industries of Australia
Rick McDougal – ACO Certification Limited 
Ian King – AUS-QUAL 
Marg Will – Organic Systems and Solutions
Kelvin Free – Mallee Organics and Wattle Organic Farms
David Stout – National Retail Association 
Vanya Cullen – Cullen Wines
Ryan Reynolds – The Organic Milk Company
Victoria Angove – Angove Family Winemakers 
Quentin Kennedy – Kialla Pure Foods and Aus Organic Feeds 
Australian Farmers’ Markets Association 
Sue Armstrong – Bio-Dynamic Research Institute
Alister Ferguson – Arcadian Organic and Natural Meat Co 
Don Lazzaro – Pure Harvest
Professor Gail Pearson – Consumer Law Expert

Questions and answers

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What is the current regulatory framework for organics?

Goods labelled as organic, biodynamic, or those with similar labelling, which are exported from Australia must be certified by an approved certifying organisation and accompanied by the department’s Organic Produce Certificate (OPC). This is a legal export requirement set out in the Export Control (Organic Produce Certification) Orders.

The OPC ensures Australian organic and biodynamic goods have been subject to a regulatory system that guarantees the organic and biodynamic production system underpinning the organic and biodynamic claims.

The requirement for the OPC is in addition to all commodity-specific exporting requirements (including health, safety, and biosecurity requirements).

Domestically marketed organic products are usually certified by one of Australia’s 6 private certifiers who certify goods to the National Standard for Organic and Biodynamic Produce for export purposes.

There is currently no mandatory standard for certification of organic products sold domestically in Australia.

Why is there interest in reviewing the current regulatory system?

While Australia currently has strong controls in place for the production and export of organic food and products, there is no mandatory standard that is applied to products destined for Australia’s domestic market.

Fit-for-purpose regulation may provide greater efficiencies in the way industry operates and a framework to support industry growth.

How does this impact arrangements for the export of organic products?

The industry advisory group discussions will only consider options for domestic regulation. It will not consider changes to the export regulatory arrangements.

For information on the organic export regulatory framework see agriculture.gov.au/organicexport.

Last reviewed: 5 January 2021
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