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STANDARDS AND COMPLIANCE SYSTEMS FOR ORGANIC AND BIO-DYNAMIC AGRICULTURE IN AUSTRALIA:PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE

Wynen, Els (2007) STANDARDS AND COMPLIANCE SYSTEMS FOR ORGANIC AND BIO-DYNAMIC AGRICULTURE IN AUSTRALIA:PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE. Journal of Organic Systems, 2 (2), pp. 38-55.

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Online at: http://www.organic-systems.org/journal/Vol%202(2)/pdf/38-55%20EW%20(7)%20Standards-Revised%20-10December-SH-EW.pdf

Summary

Australia does not yet have standards for organic and bio-dynamic produce for the domestic market, although there are standards for exports. Recently, there has been a move towards the establishment and adoption of standards for the domestic market. Debate has centred on which organisation would be most suitable to host such standards. An important issue was the acceptability of the final standards to the Government, so that it would be willing to legalise the word ‘organic’ according to those standards. Other issues of concern were ownership of and control over the standards, copyright, compliance with the standards, and costs of developing and maintaining standards. Given the requirements identified by the industry as being of importance, the process of Standards Australia, an independent, not-for-profit body recognised by the Australian Government as the national standard-setting body overseeing the establishment of an Australian Standard appears to be the best option. The important requirement of industry ownership seems secure, while government regulation – facilitating compliance enforcement - is likely to follow with government acceptance of the process by which the Australian Standards are being established. In addition, the cost of this process will be significantly lower than that of the existing process with the National Standard.

Summary translation

In summary, disagreement within the organic community over the best way to develop and maintain Australian organic standards has dissolved over time. Progress in this area in the near future, with standards developed and maintained involving Standards Australia, seems likely. The industry now considers that ownership of the standards, and control over the content is possible under the same system. This situation would be considered an improvement on that in countries such as those in the EU and in the USA, where governments have the final say over the content of organic standards. Part of the gain of this approach, however, depends on the representation of groups chosen or appointed to develop the standards, though there seems little disagreement within the Technical Committee. The issue of copyright is perhaps not as critical as first made out by some in the industry, especially if private CBs, who derive their standards from the Australian Standard, can continue their practice of providing standards to those who wish to be certified. The industry seems united in demanding compulsory compliance with the standards, an issue that looks as if it is possible to be accommodated in the Standard Australia process. The fear of expanding costs for the industry, apart from costs for standards, seems totally unfounded. It appears that, financially, the industry would be better off with an Australian Standard developed and maintained under Standards Australia than with organic standards under AQIS or FSANZ.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:organic standards, compliance, certification, accreditation, auditing, ownership, copyright, cost, Australia, National Standard, Australian Standard, Standards Australia, FSANZ, OFA, OIECC
Subjects: Values, standards and certification > Regulation
Research affiliation: Australia > Eco Landuse Systems
Related Links:http://www.organic-systems.org, http://www.elspl.com.au/
Deposited By: Wynen, Dr Els
ID Code:13238
Deposited On:05 Mar 2008
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:36
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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