Kiwis to soon be guaranteed organic products are the real deal

Rural Exchange 08/12/2018

Organic products made in New Zealand will soon be defined by a mandatory national standard as the Government progresses with plans to tighten regulations.

The regulations will guarantee to consumers that an organic product is the real deal.

Organics Aotearoa New Zealand (OANZ) chair Doug Voss has applauded the move towards national accreditation, which he says is "a big Christmas present" for the sector.

It's a bit of a murky area at present.

Currently, producers and retailers can use the term 'organic' with few restrictions.  

Companies with certified organic products may compete with others that don't necessarily comply, with some 'organic' products containing only a small proportion of certified ingredients.

Organic products will soon have to meet a national standard.

"It's a bit of a murky area at present - a bit Wildy-Westy," said Mr Voss. "We're just out of pace with the rest of the world."

Australia and New Zealand are the only two countries within the top 25 organic markets that lack a Government-defined mandatory standard, says Mr Voss.

The New Zealand organic sector has grown 30 percent or 10 percent a year since 2015, to now be worth $600 million and growing - buoyed by increasing global and domestic demand.

With consumers willing to pay premium prices for 'organic', the new regulations will be a win for New Zealanders and organic exporters.

Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor said the national standard for organic production will be progressed as a Government Bill next year, "so our agribusinesses can extract more value from what they do as soon as possible."

Watch the full interview with Doug Voss above.

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