The Department of Agriculture's role in the organic and biodynamic food industry
The department's Agricultural Productivity Division is the contact for issues concerning domestic organic policy matters.
The department is responsible for organic industry export policy matters, including maintaining the National Standard for Organic and Biodynamic Produce and certifying exports of organic food against that standard.
Certification of organic produce in Australia
Domestically marketed organic products are commonly certified by one of Australia’s seven private certifiers who base their certification standards on the National Standard for Organic and Biodynamic Produce Edition 3.4 July 2009 (the export standard which is also referred to as the National Standard) used by the department for export certification.
The voluntary Australian Standard 6000-2009 Organic and biodynamic products was released on 9 October 2009. Standards Australia developed this standard through a representative technical committee comprising organic stakeholders, including certifiers, retailers, manufacturers, consumer groups and government agencies.
Labelling of organic and biodynamic produce for Australia's domestic market
All foods produced or imported for sale in Australia and New Zealand, including organic food, must be labelled in accordance with the Food Standards Code developed by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).
FSANZ protects the health and safety of the people in Australia and New Zealand by maintaining a safe food supply. It is a bi-national independent statutory authority which develops food standards for composition, labelling and contaminants, including microbiological limits. These standards apply to all foods produced or imported for sale in Australia and New Zealand.
The Commonwealth’s Competition and Consumer Act 2010 which replace the Trade Practices Act 1974 and the various state and territories’ fair trading laws protect against fraudulent and misleading practices (including for food labelling).
Organic industry contact
The Organic Federation of Australia is the peak body for the organic industry in Australia.
Information released under the FOI Act
The department received a request (FOI 2013/14-31) under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 for a copy of the Organic Produce Advisory Committee meeting report dated 22 November 1991. The report discusses the Draft National Standard for Organic Produce.
In response, one document was released to the applicant on 6 December 2013: