Global trade in food ingredients has increased dramatically in the last years, and nowadays companies are in a position to purchase ingredients and additives directly from an ever-increasing range of suppliers located almost anywhere in the world. However, this enormous degree of freedom has a very serious downside in that food companies run the risk of purchasing ingredients that possibly may not always satisfy quality demands or even fail to meet international purity standards as stipulated by international and local food laws. While organic certified food contains at least 95% of organic ingredients certified under several international organic standards, they also contain a small proportion of natural ingredients sourced from vegetable, mineral or marine renewable sources. Those natural ingredients are an important part of the product recipe usually acting as emulsufiers, flavour enhancers, thickeners, preservatives, etc.
Natural ingredients are not certified by a third party organization like organic raw materials, and due to this the lack of regulation the term natural has been applied to ingredients derived from GMO materials, or to ingredients that although initially derived from natural sources, have lost any ‘naturalness’ after so many synthetic chemical treatments.
The Natural Food Ingredients Assessment Scheme aims to provide comprehensive validation of natural ingredients to be used in certified products, or by conventional food manufacturers wishing to market a product made with natural ingredients validated by a leading certification body. Through our ingredients database, food manufacturers will have at their disposal hundreds of approved ingredients ready to use, and food ingredients suppliers the perfect tool to market their ingredients into the booming organic industry.
There are two levels of approval for Natural Food Ingredients:
  • Evaluation
  • Registration
Ingredient evaluation
Certified food processors can obtain evaluation of any particular ingredient to be used in their organic recipes and that is not listed on the standards at a price of $50 per ingredient through a Questionnaire.
IP protection. Validation of an ingredient belongs to the company that has submitted and paid for the evaluation. If a different company re-submits that ingredient as part of their recipe, the ingredient will be re-evaluated ($50 fee) even if it has been already approved for a different company.
There is no renewal cost involved, but if there is a change of ingredient manufacturer, a new evaluation will be required.
Ingredient registration
A service provided to food ingredients suppliers or manufacturers that wish to validate their non-organic ingredients for inclusion in the Natural Food Ingredients Database
Certified food processors using registered ingredients would not pay an evaluation fee for the ingredient, resulting in a reduction in the overall certification cost and an advantage to formulators in search of new ingredients to incorporate into their products.
The labelling of registered ingredients must not state or indicate that the ingredient is certified according to an organic standard and must not include any organic logo. It may only include a statement such as ‘approved for use under the ____ standard’ or ‘accepted as compliant with the ____ standard’.
The registration cost per ingredient is as follows. Discounts apply for submissions consisting of over 10 materials:
ACO Registration Fees
1-10 ingredients                           $80 per ingredient
11-20 ingredients                         $70 per ingredient
21-50 ingredients                         $60 per ingredient
more than 50 ingredients              $55 per ingredient

The annual renewal fee per ingredient is 30% the registration fee for an initial review

e.g.  Registration cost for 6 ingredients under ACO  = $480
        Renewal cost for 6 ingredients under ACO       = $144
APPLICATION PROCEDURE
To progress your ingredient registration, please complete this application document and submit it together with your remittance advice to accounts@aco.net.au or fax 07 3350 5996.
Once payment is processed, you will receive your unique code necessary to complete the online questionnaire.
It is recommended that  food ingredients manufacturers complete the online evaluation questionnaire on behalf of their distributors or importing agents. Submitting the information directly to ACO will help facilitate the exchange of information required to complete the assesment while minimizing confidentially issues that face food ingredients distributors and importers when they try to obtain the information required by ACO from a raw material manufacturer.
An ingredient Product Information Form (PIF) or equivalent and a manufacturing flowchart are required to be uploaded when submitting the questionnaire, so please prepare those documents in advance. You will receive the ingredient evaluation result within 5 business days. If additional information is required for the assesment, a certification officer will contact you.
Successfully registered materials will be listed on the Natural Food Ingredients Database.