Organic Federation of Australia

Organic Update November 2006

An Australian Standard
Two recent events highlight the need for an Australian Standard for Organic and Biodynamic Products

‘Domestic Only’
Recent articles in the Sydney Morning Herald have exposed products that were certified by a large certifier to a standard that does not comply with the National Standard for Organic and Biodynamic Produce. Although this standard is legally binding for the export market only, it has been the de-facto standard for the Australian domestic market. This change in practice by the certifier has the potential to damage the credibility of certified organic products.

The proposed merger of two certifiers to create a ‘domestic only’ certification system could further undermine the credibility of certified organic products. Their ‘domestic only’ certification system will not be accredited by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS), something that has always been required by the trade in the past.

Its sets a commercial precedent, as it can be used as an example by any organisation to certify products as organic to their own standard, using their own definitions of organic, rather than complying with the National Standard and being accredited by AQIS.

There is nothing that can be legally done about this until we have an Australian Standard called up into regulation. The OFA has started the process and is working with the Australian Government to achieve a credible regulatory system for the Australian organic sector.

Mandatory Fortification of Flour with Folic Acid
The decision by Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) to enforce the mandatory addition of folic acid into bread, despite the strong objections from flour millers, baking industries and the organic sector, highlights the reasons why the OFA does not support a mandatory FSANZ food standard code for organic produce. An organic food standard code will mean that FSANZ has control and can change it over the objections of the organic sector.

Global Warming – Climate Change Conference Proceedings
Climate change is hitting the headlines around the world. The proceedings of the 3rd OFA National Organic Conference, Organics – Solutions to Climate Change, are available from Cathrine De Danann, OFA Secretariat.

The comprehensive papers look at range of practical solutions on how to reduce greenhouses gases by sequestering atmospheric C02 into the soil and using it to improve water use efficiency, soil fertility and crop yields.

Best Regards
Andre Leu

Australian Organic News

Biofach Feb 15 –18 2007
The OFA is coordinating the Australian Organic Products Stand at Biofach,in Germany in February 2007. Biofach is the world’s largest exhibition of organic goods and services. It is an excellent opportunity to sell Australian products to buyers from all over the world. We are seeking expressions of interest to determine the size of our stand. NASAA has confirmed that it will be promoting its certified producers. If you are interested in exhibiting and/or promoting your product please contact Cathrine De Danann, OFA Secretariat

RIRDC's New Plan Prepares for Organic Growth
The Organic Federation of Australia (OFA) is collaborating with RIRDC in carefully planned research and development to help Australian organic producers, processors and retailers to maximise the impact of organic farming systems.

RIRDC's new Organic Industry Research and Development Plan for 2006-2011 was launched by Mrs Sophie Mirabella MP on behalf of the Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Sussan Ley. Setting priorities and strategies for the organic industry’s research and development (R&D) program for the next five years, the R&D Plan will be implemented in partnership with the OFA, the organic industry’s peak body. The Organic Federation of Australia is very grateful for the substantial investment that RIRDC has put into R&D for our sector. More information R&D Plan

OFC Turns Ten
The Organic Food Chain (OFC) will be ten years old this year. It is now one of the fastest growing certifiers of organic products in Australia. The OFC is a grower owned and operated company.

International Organic News

Organic Farming Offsets Food Miles
Organic farming offers solutions to the current food miles debate. Not only that, but it leads the way in low energy farming, and will help New Zealand reach its carbon neutral targets, according to the Soil & Health Association.

"Consumers are rightly becoming concerned about ‘food miles’, because the fossil fuel used in transporting food contributes to climate change through CO2 emissions," says Soil and Health spokesperson, Steffan Browning. "However, New Zealand and overseas reports all show that organic production uses much less energy than conventional farming."

The Lincoln University report, Food Miles – Comparative Energy/Emissions Performance of New Zealand’s Agriculture Industry, by Saunders, Barber and Taylor, argues that with food miles, it is not just the distance that should be assessed but the total energy used, from production to plate, including transport.

The report, released in July, shows that New Zealand products use less energy, and have lower emissions per tonne of product delivered to the UK, than UK products do. It quotes a report by Defra (UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs): "…it can be more sustainable to import organic food into the UK than to grow non-organic food in the UK." Contact: Steffan Browning

European Organic Markets are Booming
"We found that the level of investment in statistics and market information does not reflect the size of this growing sector", says project coordinator Nicolas Lampkin from the University of Wales. "Currently more than six million hectares are managed organically, thus representing four percent of the European Union’s agricultural land. European Consumers are spending up to €15 billion (A$ 25 billion) on organic food per year, and demand is growing up to ten per cent annually. There is a need for increased investment at EU and national government level, but also by the private sector companies with an interest in developing the organic market."

New Organic Centre Planned in Switzerland
Bio Schwand AG plans to set up an organic farming centre on the site of a former agricultural college. The canton government decided in December 2005 to commence negotiations with Bio Schwand AG on the planned new use in Münsingen. The negotiations led to a skeleton agreement, which the Bern canton government agreed to in mid October.

The plans for Bio Schwand include building an organic food shop and a restaurant and setting up a training, advisory and research centre for organic farming. The project will be financed by the ecologically orientated Coopera pension fund.

Wal-Mart Canada Enters Organic Market
Wal-Mart Canada is preparing to shake up the country's billion-dollar organic grocery trade with sharper competition and lower prices. Wal-Mart has issued an open call to Canadian product suppliers – especially vendors of fresh food and eco-friendly wares – to help stock its existing 272 Canadian discount stores and seven planned Ontario super centres. Organic foods are booming with growth estimated at between 15 and 20 per cent per year. Wal-Mart is planning to offer a wide array of organic products.

With about one million Canadians shopping at a Wal-Mart store every day, the retailer has the potential to revolutionize the sector. According to Biofach, Canada imports between 80 to 90 per cent of the organic foods consumed domestically and the federal government is under increasing pressure to introduce national standards to regulate and certify products.

Global Organic Textile Standard: Start For Certification Process
The International Working Group on Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) has officially approved the first certification body: The Institute for Marketecology (IMO) offers certification to this standard with immediate effect.

After four years of development, this decision marks a milestone in the work of the GOTS Working Group. The great interest of processors, manufacturers, leading brands and retailers underlines the current interest in organic textiles with a promising impact on the main selling markets. The Global Organic Textile Standard is the result of a technical harmonisation procedure between reputed standard organisations: So far the International Association Natural Textile Industry (IVN), Soil Association (SA), Organic Trade Association (OTA) and Japan Organic Cotton Association (JOCA) have already decided to adopt the GOTS by 1st October 2006.

Hershey Buys Organic Chocolate
Hershey, the largest chocolate company in the USA, has acquired Dagoba Organic Chocolate. The $20 million organic chocolate category grew 57 % last year. Source MediaPostPublications.

The World’s Biggest Organic Wine Tasting
BioFach is the world’s most important organic wine exhibition. 777 organic wines faced the tasters for the coveted BioFach 2006 International Wine Award a year ago. The 30-person jury of oenologists, catering experts and wine merchants were delighted with the quality. 60 top wines received "Gold" awards and 13 wines of the century even received the first ever "Special Gold" awards at the BioFach opening ceremony in 2006.

Another clear increase is expected in the number of wines entered for the BioFach 2007 International Wine Award. The tasting takes place in the Vasco da Gama restaurant in the CCN Ost of the Exhibition Centre Nuremberg on 25-26 November 2006. www.biofach.dg


The Organic Producers Association of Queensland will hold their AGM on Sunday 19th November 2006 at Riverwood Farm 303 Candle Mountain Road Peachester.

Commences at 9:30am with a tour of Riverwood Farm on the banks of the Stanley River. OPAQ President, Keith Morris will deliver a presentation on the commercial production of organic bananas.

Contact Robyn Cook, OPAQ Secretary, 07 5445 9923

Managing the Carbon Cycle
Canberra, ACT 22-23th NOV 2006
This information packed two day ‘Managing the Carbon Cycle’ Forum will showcase emerging initiatives and innovative management practices in the rapidly changing arena of carbon accounting and trading in ‘carbon credits’ and will be of enormous benefit to policy makers, research, agency and consultancy staff, landholders, landcarers, conservation farming groups, catchment management authorities, educators, students and environmentalists.

For more info:

Inaugural Ethical & Organic Fair
The Hughenden Hotel will be hosting a 3 course Organic Dinner on Friday 1st December and an Organic Cocktail Party on Saturday 2nd December.
Bookings for both are essential by contacting the Hughenden Hotel: 02 9363 4863 or

Veg Out Farmers’ Market
1st Saturday of every month 8.30am-1pm
Chaucer Street, St Kilda (just behind Acland Street and Luna Park)

Collingwood Children’s Farm Farmers’ Market
2nd Saturday every month 8.00am–1pm
St Heliers Street, Abbotsford

Gasworks Farmers’ Market
3rd Sat every month 8.30am–1pm
Graham Street, Albert Park. (cnr Pickles St)

Organic Update is a publication of the Organic Federation of Australia
Phone +61 1300 657 435
PO Box 369 Bellingen NSW 2454 Australia
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