When we go shopping, we often come across labels such as Australian Certified Organic, USDA Organic, Biodynamic and Fair trade. What do they mean? How different are they? Which label is organic, which one is environmental friendly and which one shall I trust? These are the questions you might ask yourself if you don’t know the differences between the labels. To help you make better decisions in the future, we have done some research and described their meanings below.
Australia Certified Body – Australian Certified Organic
Australian Certified Organic Pty Ltd is an organisation that carries out independent accredited auditing, review and certification work. The standard applies to unprocessed products from plants, animals and approved naturally occurring materials.
Products that are not compatible with the practices of organic agriculture are not permitted under the Australian Certified Organic Standard (ACOS). ACO does not support genetically engineered products or practices, products treated with ionising radiation for post-harvest purpose or nanotechnology based products.
American Certification Body – USDA organicThe United states Department of Agriculture (USDA) are committed to assisting organic agriculture expand via various programs to increase the number of certified organic operations in America. The USDA supports products and ingredients that are verified by a USDA-accredited certifying agent before all products can be labelled USDA organic. Organic multi-ingredient foods that are verified are to be 95% organic or more to be certified as organic.
The USDA organic seal verifies that pesticides, genetically modified organisms (GMO), synthetic fertilizers, irradiation and sewage sludge are prohibited. In relation to livestock, USDA ensure producers met animal health and welfare standards, that they do not use growth hormones or antibiotics and importantly their feed is 100% organic and that animals have access to the outdoors.
What does it mean if a product is Biodynamic?Biodynamics is a spiritual-ethical-ecological approach to agriculture, food production and nutrition, which was first developed in the early 1920s by Dr.RudoIf Steiner. Biodynamics has much in common with other organic approaches – it emphasizes the use of manures and composts and excludes the use of artificial chemicals on soil and plants. Methods unique to the biodynamic approach include its treatment of animals, crops, and soil as a single system and the use of an astrological sowing and planting calendar.
Biodynamic accreditation requires diligent soil enrichment, constant plant inspection, and labor-intensive fieldwork (handpicking weeds and insects).
To be certified Biodynamic by the Demeter Association (the preeminent Biodynamic organization in the U.S.), farms are required to have indigenous flowers, trees, livestock (cows, goats, and sheep), a natural supply of water, and at least 10 percent of acreage devoted to the native flora and fauna. The idea is to attract wildlife in order to control harmful pests (from caterpillars to rats) naturally.
What does it mean if a product is Fair-trade?Fair Trade supports and ensures a fair go to workers, farmers and their communities in some of the poorest countries in the world. The trademark logo ensures that better prices and decent working conditions are honored, ensures a sustainable environment and overall promotes justice and fairness in trade as well.