About Organic Food Certification Symbols
Annie Wilson, a fully certified Organic Farm NZ grower, says there is
more to a "certified organic" label than may meet your eye.
As a grower of fruit and vegetables, I feel deeply the responsibility I
have to consumers, who trust that I am working sustainably, to provide
them with safe, fresh food. My farm’s full certification status proves
If you make a habit of searching out the usually easy to find
certification label, you can be reasonably certain you’re getting what
The four to know
While the four certifying bodies all differ by
degrees, their basic rules are the same: no short cuts to conversion;
rigorous testing of soils, composts, product; clear records of inputs
and their integrity; and protection of product from any possible
These four bodies all have their logos here in these pages. Look for them in your stores. Ask for them. Tell growers about them.
Organic Farm New Zealand
was set up by Soil and Health and funding provided by MAF as a low cost
certification scheme for smaller growers and those wanting to supply
the domestic market only. It is based on a system of peer review, and
growers are encouraged to sell locally. It does not cover produce for
export with its related charges, so costs are considerably lower to
members, helped along by thousands of hours from volunteers within the
organisation. Other than that, OFNZ certification follows the Bio-Gro
Standards. To go to the OFNZ website click here.
Established in 1983, BioGro is New Zealand’s largest and best-known certification body.
BioGro is the trading arm of the New Zealand Biological Producers and
Consumers Council (NZBPCC), a not-for-profit organisation formed to
safeguard the interests of producers and consumers of organic food and
increase the awareness and demand for certified organic produce.
BioGro’s Organic Standards have been developed specifically for New
Zealand organic producers and BioGro offers a choice of two
certification programmes: Export and IFOAM (International Federation of
Organic Agriculture Movements www.ifoam.org
accredited certification for export, or domestic certification for the
local market. BioGro lists all its current licensees on their website.
This is updated every week so consumers can use this to check if a
producer is currently certified, including the scope of their
certification. To go to the BioGro website click here.
is a world wide organization in 50 countries, and its brand is the
symbol for food produced using bio-dynamic principles – the rules and
recipes of Rudolf Steiner, including specific preparations and
homeopathic remedies. Growers pay levies on produce sold. Their produce
commands the highest prices in Europe. To go to the Demeter website click here
AsureQuality Organic Standard is accredited by the world's leading
organic organisation IFOAM (International Federation of Organic
Agriculture Movement) and has market access to the USA, European Union,
Australia, South East Asia, the UK and Japan. Consumers can be
confident that products certified to the AsureQuality Organic Standard
have been produced to strict organic principles and are traceable
throughout the supply chain.
AsureQuality certifies a vast range of products, production units and
manufacturers to their Organic Standard, and performs audits on
livestock farms, horticultural properties, apiarists, aquaculture farms
and processors - as well as on 'inputs' such as fertilisers. Every
producer or processor, once certified organic by AsureQuality, receives
access to the AsureQuality organic certification mark and a certificate
featuring their own unique number. This unique customer number enables
product traceability throughout the supply chain.
As the Southern Hemisphere’s most accredited supplier of independent
auditing, inspection and testing to the food and agricultural
industries, AsureQuality can offer an integrated range of international
food safety services such as BRC and GLOBALGAP - and carries out
certification to EU Regulations, USDA National Organic Program and
Japanese Agricultural Standard. They do not require levies.
The company is a State Owned Enterprise with 1700 people working across
New Zealand and Australia. Their laboratory facilities provide
world-class testing and analysis expertise to assure quality standards
and global market access for food, dairy, meat, horticulture, wine and
arable product. This includes third party IANZ accredited multi residue
For more information or to request an Organic Certification Application Pack freephone 0508 00 11 22 or visit www.organiccertification.co.nz
Ask to see the certificate
If you can’t find a certification label, ask your retailer. (S)he
should be able to provide proof of certification of labelled produce at
any time. Anyone licensed under one of New Zealand’s four certification
schemes will be only too pleased to display or show you the proof of
their certification. They’ve worked hard for it. Each one has a
registration number. If a seller doesn’t have it, you have no guarantee
that the food is produced according to organic standards, or comes
anywhere near it. You have the right to refuse uncertified products,
and the more you do the more demand you’ll create for true, certified
produce, and the more encouragement retailers will have to press their
wholesalers to provide certified produce only.
There are four recognised organic certification schemes in New Zealand.
They are reliable systems, and I think that consumers can trust the
rigorous standards we, as certified producers, all work to.
BioGro lists all its current licensees on their website. This is
updated every week so consumers can also use this to check if a
producer is currently certified and the scope of their certification.
About Far North Organics
Another food certification symbol you may come across in the far north
of The North Island, is the Regional Group, Far North Organic Growers
The Far North Organic Growers Group (FNOG) provides two organic certification systems:
- OrganicFarmNZ certification to individual producers in
the Far North – covering Whangarei in the south to Cape Reinga in the
- FNOG certification to individual producers – covering Kerikeri and all areas north.
- FNOG certification is for those strictly supplying local markets in the area.
FNOG was established in 1989 and has been providing certification since
this date. The establishment of OFNZ was partly influenced by the
success of FNOG. For more information on Far North organics click here.