Date of issue: 13/05/2022
Date of effect: 9 am (AEDT), 13/05/2022
Reference Number: IAN 2022/01
Attention: Organic operators and exporters, organic certifying bodies, industry bodies
To provide an update on the management and amendment process for the National Standard for Organic and Bio-Dynamic Produce (the National Standard).
The National Standard is Australia’s technical organic export standard and includes requirements for goods with labelling that states or implies, that they have been produced under organic or bio-dynamic systems. The National Standard includes requirements on the production, processing, storage, transportation, labelling and importation of organic and bio-dynamic goods.
The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (the department) is the Australian Government competent authority responsible for certifying Australian food and agricultural exports (including organic and bio-dynamic goods). The department maintains an Organic Exports Program to enforce regulation of organic goods and to provide assurance to trading partners that claims made about organic goods are accurate and safe to import.
As per industry advice notice 2021/05 - issued on 13 December 2021, the department advised that the management of the National Standard and the National Standards sub-Committee (NSsC) - now known as the National Standards Advisory Committee (NSAC) - would be transitioning from the Organic Industry Standards and Certification Council (OISCC) to the department as of 31 December 2021. The department also advised that National Standard amendment requests were placed on hold whilst this transition occurred.
Maintenance arrangements of the National Standard
The National Standard is owned and maintained by the department with the assistance of the NSAC – an industry committee that considers revisions, updates and amendments to the National Standard. The NSAC make recommendations and provides advice to the department in relation to these matters. The NSAC are managed by and report directly to, the department on all matters.
The department continues to make the final determinations on all proposed amendments to the National Standard, upon consideration of the NSAC’s recommendations.
National Standard amendment process
Applications to amend the National Standard can now be made via a new application form located on the department’s website.
Once an application has been received, the department will forward the application onto the NSAC for assessment and consideration.
If an application meets the NSAC’s assessment criteria, they will recommend that the department run a public consultation process for the proposed amendment. Upon completion of the public consultation process, the NSAC will evaluate the results, with consideration to importing country requirements, international standards and the organic export legal and policy framework. Following this review, the NSAC will make a recommendation to the department to either approve or reject the amendment application.
The department considers the NSAC’s recommendations to either amend or not amend the National Standard in accordance with the Export Control Act 2020 (the Act), the Export Control (Organic Goods) Rules 2021 and its international obligations as Australia’s competent government authority. The department may also choose to undertake additional targeted consultation to inform its decision.
Note: Any outstanding applications to amend the National Standard that were previously under OISCC’s remit have been transitioned over to the department and the NSAC for consideration.
Publication of the National Standard
The current version of the National Standard is available on the department’s website.
Contact OrganicExports@awe.gov.au if you have any queries.