What does Australian Certified Organic mean?
Not just organic... but certified organic!
Australian Certified Organic (ACO) is Australia's Australia's largest certifier for organic produce. Their certification ensures compliance with national production standards and allows trace back of all products to their origin.
For a product to be organic it must be grown or produced without the use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides, or other artificial chemicals. When something is "certified organic" it provides a quality guarantee that the products are 100% organic.
The ACO provides a clear outline of their standards and application process, which is a lovely 101 pages long! Don't worry. I've done the hard work for you and jotted down some key points about the process.
ACO Standards Key Points
Not only are certified organic product natural, but they are produced by companies that exhibit effective management control for organic product handling, preparation and dispatch. (This ensures absolutely no contamination occurs).
The application process usually takes around 12 months providing all relevant documentation has been provided.
Once approved companies are issued with a Certificate of Compliance. The certificate comes with a "unique certification number which must appear on all transactions and labelling to do with certified produce." (This is what us as consumers need to look out for when buying certified organic produce! Here is a link to check product certification).
"ACO carries out audits on businesses including producers through to retailers and all links in the chain in between to ensure that they maintain conformance with this Standard. Businesses in compliance are licensed to display the ACO logo on packaging and marketing material, which is the purchaser’s guarantee that what they are buying is truly organic." Audits are carried out annually.
All products that are certified organic have their own Organic management plan (OMP). This is a "management plan that outlines production plans to achieve ongoing conformance with this Standard. Such a plan forms the basis of certification and auditing."
"Decertification excludes the operator from using the ACO logo and making labelling or marketing reference to certified products or production. This shall also entail removal from the marketplace of all existing certified product that is not deemed to conform to this Standard."
The ACO standards go into great detail, (trust me, I've read all 101 pages!)
In summary you can rest-assure that any company that is certified organic is running under extremely strict guidelines to ensure that no contamination occurs. From using the correct production materials to even training the transport operators that distribute the product, all to ensure maintenance of the products authenticity!
What about cosmetics?
Certification of skincare products is provided by the ACO. Separate certification is also available for cosmetics and skincare, known as COSMOS certification, which is the internationally recognised standard.