In Australia, the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) is the controlling body for organic export certification. As of 2012, there are seven AQIS-approved certifying organisations, they are AUS-QUAL Limited, Australian Certified Organic, Organic Food Chain, Bio-Dynamic Research Institute, NASAA Certified Organic, Safe Food Productions Queensland, Tasmanian Organic-dynamic Producers these organisations are authorised to issue Organic Produce Certificates on behalf of AQIS. In 2004 there were 2345 certified operators in Australia.
There are two certification bodies that work domestically and are not controlled by AQIS. These are Organic Growers of Australia who is accredited by the International Organic Accreditation Service and Australia's largest certification body SAI Global who is accredited by JASANZ. SAI Global certifies to the Australian Standard for Organic and Biodynamic Products (AS 6000).
All claims about the organic status of products sold in Australia are covered under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. Australia’s main consumer regulatory authority the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission(ACCC)is of the view that AS 6000 will be of assistance to courts when they next attempt to determine the meaning of organic.
The largest importer of Australia's organic produce (by weight) is Japan (33.59%), followed by the UK (17.51%), France (10.51%), and New Zealand (10.21%). The largest certifier of organic products is Australian Certified Organic, which is a subsidiary of Biological Farmers Australia, the largest organic farmers' collective in the country. The Organic Federation of Australia is recognized by the Federal and State Governments of Australia as the Peak Industry Body and cover the whole sectors from farmers, traders, processors, certification bodies, consumers and researchers. It does not certify as this would mean that it competes with members and that would be a conflict of interest.
Organic foods are foods that are produced using methods of organic farming – that do not involve modern synthetic inputs such as synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Organic foods are also not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives.
The organic farming movement arose in the 1940s in response to the industrialization of agriculture known as the Green Revolution. Organic food production is a heavily regulated industry, distinct from private gardening.
Currently, the European Union, the United States, Canada, Japan and many other countries require producers to obtain special certification in order to market food as organic within their borders. In the context of these regulations, organic food is food produced in a way that complies with organic standards set by national governments and international organizations.
Organic certification is a certification process for producers of organic food and other organic agricultural products. In general, any business directly involved in food production can be certified, including seed suppliers, farmers, [food] processors, retailers and restaurants.
Requirements vary from country to country, and generally involve a set of production standards for growing, storage, processing, packaging and shipping that include:
- no human sewage sludge fertilizer used in cultivation of plants or feed of animals
- avoidance of synthetic chemical inputs not on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (e.g. fertilizer, pesticides, antibiotics, food additives, etc.), genetically modified organisms, irradiation, and the use of sewage sludge;
- use of farmland that has been free from prohibited synthetic chemicals for a number of years (often, three or more);
- keeping detailed written production and sales records (audit trail);
- maintaining strict physical separation of organic products from non-certified products;
- undergoing periodic on-site inspections.
In some countries, certification is overseen by the government, and commercial use of the term organic is legally restricted. Certified organic producers are also subject to the same agricultural, food safety and other government regulations that apply to non-certified producers.