How can you be sure that the produce you buy from Lettuce is really Organic? Quite simply because we only purchase Certified Organic produce from Farmers who have been carefully inspected by one of the national independent certification bodies in Australia:
Aus - Qual (AQO)
Aus - Qual is a relatively new Certifier of Organic Produce and products based in QLD.
Australian Certified Organic (ACO)
Australian Certified Organic is the largest certifier of organic produce.
National Association for Sustainable Agriculture (NASAA)
The second oldest is the national association for sustainable agriculture, Aus Ltd. NASSA certifies produce as organic or biodynamic. Labels indicate products are either ‘certified organic’ or ‘certified conversion’.
**Lettuce Deliver is Certified with NASAA and our Certification number is : R9291**
Biodynamic Research institute (BDRI)
The oldest Certification organisation in Australia is the Biodynamic research institute, which administers the Demeter standard. This organisation only certifies biodynamic produce.
Organic Food Chain (OFC)
The Organic Food Chain is the most recent certification organisation to begin operating in Australia.
Organic Growers of Australia (OGA)
The Organic Growers of Austrlaia certification system was designed to be ethical, cost-effective, and charge no levies on organic sales.
Tasmanian Organic – Dynamic Producers (TOP)The Tasmanian organic-dynamic producers cooperative (top) certifies organic and biodynamic food grown or made in Tasmania
Safe Food Queensland (SAFE)
Through the use of printed standards, on-site inspection and multi-stage review of their application, organic producers seek to verify that their farming or processing facility and system meet the generally agreed standards for organic production. As a family we like the fact that Certified Organic Food production is transparent and has a clear audit trail from our shelves here at Lettuce to the exact farm of origin. Lettuce Deliver is currently certified with NASAA Retailer number 9291, as we encourage the clear audit trail from farm to plate.
While each Certification body has slightly different standards and procedures, they all meet minimum National Standards for organically produced products developed by a co coordinating committee called OPAC (Organic Producers Advisory Committee).
- This standard is at the ground level the Farmers responsibility
- Then the Certifiers to make sure that the Farmers maintain their Organic principles whilst overseeing both organic wholesalers and retailers.
- The Organic Federation of Australia (OFA) is the peak industry body who over sees the Certifying bodies in Australia.
- The Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS) is the Government body that officially oversees the entire Organic Industry in Australia with special recommendations where appropriate for involvement of government legislation relating to ACCC and The NSW Department of Fair Trade.
- The global Organic Market is overseen by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) which certifies the Certifiers of each country if they wish to meet the stringent standards of the international Organic market. Proudly, Lettuce Deliver is certified with NASAA, who are certified with IFOAM. Now…that’s confidence.
In Australia the Organic Certification system was set up in the 80’s to ensure that what was claimed to be ‘organic’, was ‘really organic’. In Australia we have 8 Certification bodies (see Certifications), each with a unique logo specific to that organisation for easy recognition of Certified Organic product in the market place. Each packaged product will also proudly display the Farmers/Producers unique Certification Number, appointed by his Certifier for audit purposes.
This organized trail ensures that the goods we purchase on your behalf meet the most stringent of standards. We have also traveled to many of our Farmers properties around Australia to know the people who grow the produce we sell to you. Obviously when buying Certified Organic fresh produce you must trust the people you buy from. 9 times out of 10 when buying fresh, as with Lettuce Deliver, you do not see the box in which your produce has arrived. This box proudly displays the Farmers Certification details as proof of purchase. We welcome all enquiry’s into the produce we home deliver for you.
Unfortunately in regards to the word ‘organic’, the OPAC and the national standard applies only to exported organic food at present…..but it is expected to be extended by legislation to food sold here in Australia within the next few years.
Producers who are Certified Organic pay for the Certification as well as pay an on-going levy to maintain the certification systems. At Lettuce we pay a fee of just over $500.00 per annum to NASAA. While this adds a small cost, it also adds consumer confidence and allows the produce and products we supply to you to be documented and proven to be different and valued.
After this long awaited regulation is in place domestically, products offered or labeled as ‘organic’ will likely have to be certified – but until then remember organic is not always organic, Certification is your only guarantee of organic authenticity. Nearly Organic is not Certified Organic if you know what I mean.
Eventually we hope as a family to see in Australia a Unique logo to be displayed beside our 7 Certifiers unique logos on product sold in the Market place. This will allow for easy recognition of Certified Organic product at a glance. 1 logo, with 1 organic standard upheld and a clear audit trail via our 7 Certifiers for assurance, with use of the unique Certification Number.
Levels of Organic Certification
There are 2 levels of categories for Organic Certification;
- In Conversion to Organic – previously known as ‘B Grade’
- Certified Organic – previously known as ‘A Grade’.
At Lettuce we do not distinguish between the two, although if for sensitivity reasons you require this information it is available on request. Speak to Emma.
In Conversion to Organic is a period where the farmer is recognized organically and able to sell his produce as Certified Organic, although the fruit and veg must be labeled ‘in conversion’. During this period the farmer is developing his systems under the supervision of his chosen Certification body.
Certified Organic is the highest level of Certification a Farmer can reach (unless Biodynamic). Farmers selling produce as ‘Certified Organic’ are experienced, extremely capable and have certainly had many years growing organic produce.
When buying Certified Organic Produce – especially at Farmers Markets – if you are not sure that the produce is Certified Organic ask the Farmer to show you his Certification registration. Organic Farmers who hold certification are very proud of the fact, and they will be delighted to demonstrate the authenticity of their product. Similarly in an Organic Shop, if you are uncertain of the status of a particular item, ask a staff member. A Certified Retail Outlet will be only too happy to provide you with the information you require. At Lettuce Deliver we welcome any questions you may have in regards to our Farmers, our practices and/or the produce we have available.
On our website we often abbreviate the certifications. Here is a guide to those abbreviations and what they stand for:
ACO/BFA - Australian Certified Organic (formerly known as BFA – Biological Farmers of Australia)
NASAA - The National Assosciation for Sustainable Agriculture in Australia
BDRI - Bio-Dynamic Research Institute – Biodynamic Certifcation
OFC - Organic Food Chain
AQO – Aus-Qual
OGA - Organic Growers of Australia
BIO - New Zealand Certification
INTL – Certified Organic outside of Australia & New Zealand