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Who is Australian Organic Limited?
Australian Organic Limited (AOL) is the peak industry body engaging with government and industry to promote the commercial and social interests of those who are certified and protect the integrity of the certified industry against fraud and misleading organics. AOL has been at the foundation of organics since 1987 and is identified by the most recognised mark in Australia, the Australian Certified Organic Bud trademark. This trademark signals the highest of integrity and is recognised by 62 per cent of Australian shoppers.
What does Australian Organic Limited do?
Australian Organic Limited represents the interests of the organic industry through advocacy and better policymaking. AOL lobbies federal and state government on key policy issues, market access and industry matters to support a prosperous future. In conjunction with driving awareness of certified organics through strategic marketing campaigns and events, providing educational resources, hosting events and forums designed to upskill and add value, AOL also collaborates with Australia’s competition regulator (ACCC) to ensure consumers are getting what they paid for.
What about exporting?
Organic certification, as provided by any of the six DAWE Approved Certifying Organisations, typically includes certification to the National Standard for Organic and Biodynamic Produce. This certification allows you to legally export agricultural produce with reference to organic on the labeling and commercial documentation. It is important to note however, that this certification does not guarantee you will be able to export to your particular target market. It is vital that you ask your Certification Body well in advance, if there are any additional market access restrictions for organic produce, and if so, whether or not they can provide the additional certifications required.
What’s the legal situation with exporting organic produce?
In Australia, organic produce is deemed a “prescribed good” under the Export Control Act (1982). This means that it is ILLEGAL to export produce as organic, to any country, UNLESS it is accompanied by a duly approved Organic Export Produce Certificate (OPC). It must accompany the produce so that means having it issued in advance of the departure of the produce.
How do I obtain an Organic Produce (Export) Certificate?
By law, OPC’s can be issued by either the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE), or a DAWE approved certification body. Practically, the best way to obtain an OPC, is from any of the six government approved certification bodies.
Is an OPC the same as an Organic certificate?
No. The OPC is a consignment by consignment approval document, required to be approved for each shipment. The Organic Certificate, issued by any of the six government approved certification bodies. The same six certification bodies are authorised to issue OPCs on behalf of the government. To help tell these documents apart, the Organic Certificate displays the logo of the certification body, whereas the OPC displays the Australian government DAWE logo.
Are all OPCs the same?
No. Some countries require different types of OPCs. For example, there are slightly different versions of the OPC for Europe, Switzerland, and Taiwan. Your certification body should issue your OPC on the correct template, depending on the destination market listed.
Can all certification bodies issue all kinds of OPCs?
No. The list of countries that each certification body can issue OPCs for can vary slightly. For example, not all certification bodies can issue OPCs for livestock products destined for Europe, but others can. Be sure to check with your certification body well in advance.
Are there any other requirements?
Yes. All other normal regulatory requirements for export still apply, and these can very depending upon the product type, or destination market. The Manual of Importing Country Requirements (MICoR) may be a useful resource. There may also be importing country requirements related to the organic produce claims, as outlined for common markets on our Export Resources page.
Are there any exceptions to the OPC requirement?
Currently, no. Any produce being exported with organic (or Bio-dynamic, biological etc) in the trade description are required to be accompanied by an approved OPC. This is set to change however in 2021, if the Consultation Draft Organic Rules (2020) are implemented as planned. If you are planning organic export business activities, it may be worth examining the new Rules, and providing any relevant feedback to DAWE before the deadline.