Organics Aotearoa NZ tackling issue of false organic claims
Organics Aotearoa New Zealand (already) tackling issue of false organic claims
“The steady 8% per annum growth in the organic sector over the past three years* has been great for existing organic customers”, says Brendan Hoare, Chair of Organics Aotearoa New Zealand (OANZ).
“People want what we provide and consumers who are already in the market for safer, healthier, more environmentally-friendly food now have a greater range of choices at a better range of prices.”
“However”, said Mr Hoare, “the move from being a niche market into the mainstream is raising issues around how truthful some of the claims of being organic really are.”
OANZ has been concerned for some time about the possibility that as the organic sector grows the number of false claims to being organic will increase. This will damage genuine organic producers, and consumers. Last year it convened a working party to explore the most effective and efficient ways of ensuring that products claiming to be organic really are produced to proper organic standards.
OANZ is also initiating discussions with government officials responsible for market regulation and consumer protection.
“We need to consult widely and consider all angles before settling on the best ways of minimising false claims, while ensuring we maintain growth”, said Mr Hoare.
“It's a great opportunity to determine better enforceable definitions of the term organic. It also signals the need to engage in better consumer education on what organic really means, and that is another task that OANZ is taking on this year.”
* Figures on the growth in organic domestic and export markets 2009-2012 are available in the New Zealand Organic Market Report 2012, available at http://www.oanz.org/casestudies/OANZ-full%20report%202012.pdf