What is Processor Certification?
Under processor certification you will be permitted to blend, transform, process, repack and/or re-label certified products. This certification can be applied to various manufacturing operations including, animal product processing, durable foodstuffs, perishables and wet processing, beverage, pet food, cosmetics fibres and textiles, agricultural inputs, approved products, mineral and supplement production.
For Processors and Handlers of certified products, the Organic Handling Plan (OHP) shall outline the products processed/handled; all ingredients to be sourced with plans outlined to ensure valid certification status, GMO and irradiation-free status; outline of record keeping system; outline of monitoring practices and procedures to ensure that the plan is effectively implemented (including regular reviews of non organic ingredients and the non GMO status of ingredients); other management practices and personnel responsible to ensure there will be no co-mingling with non certified product and that organic integrity is maintained. See Section 6 Processing/Preparation of the ACO Standard.
Processors may include Contract Processors (CP) whereby processing is conducted by a contracted party for a certified operator. Processors may also include pack-houses where primary product is (re)packed for retail sale.
Processing or handling of certified products must occur on certified promises. Only products declared and approved as certified with certifier can be marketed as certified organic.
Why certify as Licensee Processor /Contract Processor?
Licensee processors do not actually handle or process products. Why certify under LP?
- To protect identity/ identities of processors/suppliers for competitive reasons.
- To ensure consistency on labeling if multiple contractors are used.
Contract processors can process products under client’s certification. Why certify under CP?
- To be able to take on LP contracts, cannot contract process under clients LP certification
- To be able to process multiple organic contracts without having to complete Applications/OHP/ Declarations for each contract
- To be able to manufacture for non certified clients
- To increase variety of services you provide as a contract processor.
Some basic rules when certifying a processed product:
- Obtain valid organic certificates for all certified ingredients
- Non certified ingredients are generally permitted when certified ingredients are not available on the market.
- Non certified ingredients cannot: be of GMO origin or manufactured using GMO technology, be fumigated or treated with compounds prohibited by organic standard, cannot exceed 10% of other contamination MRL as defined by FSANZ, cannot be irradiated.
- Onus is on operator to obtain and supply ACO with proof non GMO, Irradiation and treatment statements for non organic ingredients.
- The amount of non organic ingredient(s) will affect the type of organic claim :
- 100% certified organic content, label can state “100% organic” + bud logo
- 95%-100% certified organic content, label can state “certified organic” + bud logo
- 70%-95% certified organic content, label can state “made with certified organic ingredients”, cannot use bud logo but must indicate certification number (ie ‘ACO 99999P’) (*exception for cosmetics)
- <70 % certified organic content cannot make any certification claims, can only list ingredients as ‘organic’, cannot include certification number or bud logo
Use of logo
- Product label must be submitted with ‘bud’ logo for assessment
- Logo cannot be manipulated with the exception of color and size
- Size and quality of logo must be sufficient so that registration number is legible.
- Logo cannot be used on any product or marketing medium which has not been approved by ACO
Unfortunately not all organic certifications have equivalency with ACO for use of the ACO logo. There are various different standards worldwide and ACO will only recognize a certain number of organic certifications without further assessment.
In addition to ACOS Section 3 on records, documents and labeling, all processors, from abattoirs to packhouses need to comply with the requirements in Section 6 as well as the Annexes III and IV for allowed ingredients, processing aids and sanitisers.
- Consider the potential export countries prior to formulating your product, this may affect your formula.
- If you are planning to export your product, apply for the relevant certification so that you can utilize local logos.
- It is much more cost effective to certify for additional standards during your initial application or before you annual audit.