Australian Certified Organic - What does it mean?

Australian Certified Organic - What does it mean?

A lot of the products we sell are Australian Certified Organic (ACO), but what exactly does that mean? Is ACO different from just organic or all-natural?

In short, yes! ACO is an official designation given by ACO Certification Ltd., a certifier accredited by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, that ensures that a product is compliant with national and international organic production standards.

What does Certified Organic mean?

ACO is not just a flashy marketing term—ACO has some of the highest and most rigorous standards in the world for organic products. They also have an excellent reputation for being transparent and trustworthy with others in the industry and with consumers.

A product that is ACO is guaranteed to be free of synthetic chemicals and fertilisers, ionising radiation, growth hormones, and GMOs, and all of its ingredients can be traced back to its origin. ACO takes a holistic approach and examines not only the soil and plants, but also the animals, people, and environment around the products. They also audit every step in the product’s journey, from paddock to plate, guaranteeing that no organic integrity is lost along the way.

Some products might make false claims about being organic because the term “organic” is not defined or regulated. It can be hard to tell just from the label where a product comes from, but a product that is Certified Organic and has the ACO logo on its label is guaranteed to follow strict organic guidelines so always look for the certification.

How does a company or product get Certified Organic?

Organic Certification is a rigorous process based on strict standards, rules, policies and procedures. The process can take up to 10 weeks.

Why does the process take so long? After a company applies to ACO, an impartial, third-party auditor visits the company to assess and test their products and procedures, including things like soil testing, product testing and organic verification. If the company passes, then they receive an official organic certificate and certification number. If a company wishes to add any crops or products to their business after the initial certification, they must apply to get the new product approved. Then, to remain Certified Organic, a company must pass an audit every year.

Benefits of consuming Certified Organic products

ACO products are an excellent choice for your health and the environment because they tend to be more nutritious, safer, and grown more responsibly.

No toxic synthetic chemicals

Certified Organic products have significantly lower levels of toxic synthetic chemicals and heavy metals since their usage is prohibited. 

While the levels of synthetic chemicals and heavy metals in conventional products are deemed safe, there are still potential negative health risks from frequent exposure to these elements, especially for pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and at-risk populations. 

No antibiotics or growth hormones

The use of antibiotics in livestock can lead to dangerous widespread antibiotic resistance that may result in widespread disease that is difficult or impossible to treat. Also, traces of synthetic growth hormones in livestock can be found in food and may increase the risk of diseases like cancer in humans. Since ACO products cannot use antibiotics or growth hormones, they are less likely to promote disease and are safer to consume. 

Better living conditions for livestock

Furthermore, ACO standards promote better living conditions for livestock. To comply with ACO standards, livestock raised for meat, eggs, and dairy products must have living conditions that allow them to graze on pasture and accommodate other natural behaviors, and they must be fed organic feed.

More nutritious

Studies have found that organic produce tends to have more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than conventional produce. Organic meat, dairy, and eggs have also been found to contain more Omega-3s, a heart-healthy fatty acid. Also, it has been shown that a varied organic based diet creates gut biodiversity, which results in healthier, more stable cell integrity and function. In other words, highly varied gut bacteria have a major influence on body weight, metabolism, appetite, immune system and mood. If you want the most nutritious food you can find, shop for ACO products. 

Reduced pollution

While agricultural chemicals, pesticides, and fertilisers are intended for use on crops, they tend to be applied generously and run off into the surrounding environment, contaminating our water, soil and atmosphere, thus creating long-term negative impacts. ACO standards do not permit the use of these polluting practices and require responsible management of healthy soil and biodiversity.

So when you’re shopping for our products, always look for the ACO logo and you can rest assured that our products are high-quality, healthy, and certified organic.

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Dione Promm

(BHealthSc, GradCertPMgt)

Dione Promm is a Naturopath and the Head of Science and New Product Development at Melrose Health Australia.

She heads up the Research & Development function where research, testing and formulation is undertaken to create evidence based, efficacious dietary supplements and premium quality health foods.

Dione has worked within the natural health sector for over 15 years with qualifications in Naturopathy, Nutrition and Product Development.