Approved Products, Allowed Inputs
Allowed Inputs are materials used as supplementary tools in a balanced organic farm management program. Inputs into an organic production system are generally prohibited if synthetically compounded – defined by the ACO Standard as a process which chemically changes a material derived from plant, animal or mineral resources, with the exception of microbiological processes.
How to determine if a product is allowed
It is a certified operator’s responsibility to determine if a material is acceptable for use in organic production, which can be done by checking in the ACO Standard, Section 4, and the relevant Annexes. The Annexes include a positive list of materials Allowed or Restricted for use in certified organic production systems.
The materials list included in the standard is by no means comprehensive but is a positive rather than negative list. It does not include notification of materials which are obviously prohibited, such as synthetically derived agrochemicals.
If a product is registered by Australian Organic as an Allowed Input, then it complies with the ACO Standard and will bear an Allowed Input registration number along with the Australian Organic bud logo. An input supplier or manufacturer may have an input registered as an Allowed Input for Organic Farms or Gardens by submitting appropriate application documents, as well as comprehensive details of a product’s composition, manufacture and intended use. Please download these forms from this website, or contact Australian Certified Organic for more information.
Onus is on the certified operator to ensure that an input complies with the ACO Standard. Any material not listed in the Standard – or that may contain ingredients not listed in the Standard – requires written confirmation from your certification body that these products are allowed.
There are many conventional products that are available on the market that contain an active ingredient that is allowed under the Standard, but with inactive or inert ingredients that are synthetic or otherwise prohibited. Inactive ingredients may be surfactants or wetters that aid the active ingredients’ efficacy. Active and inactive ingredients both need to be assessed under the Standard.
Any formulated products used, which may contain more than just active ingredients listed in Annexes I and II, must first have been approved for use in writing to the operator by the certification office prior to use. If a product has been approved, a certified producer will be issued a letter of compliance that is valid for a period of two years.
To have an input assessed for compliance with relevant organic standards, a producer will be asked to provide (as a minimum) a Material Safety Data Sheet and/or a complete ingredient list for the input desired for use. Where applicable, verification must be provided to show that no ingredients are derivatives of genetically modified organisms.
Considerations for export compliance
Even though an allowed input carries the Bud logo or the logo of another certifying body, this does not mean the product is compliant for clients accessing overseas markets (e.g. USDA NOP).
It is also a requirement that you assess where additional market requirements may apply. For operators wishing to access overseas markets, the minimum requirements of the importing country also need to be met.
Inputs not listed in the ACOS
Consideration for the use of Inputs not listed in the ACO Standard shall be assessed upon their compliance with the standard, specifically:
- The basis of necessity for organic production. The logic upon which such assessment will be based includes criteria such as yield, product quality, environmental safety, ecological protection, and human and animal welfare.
- Source of the input. Generally allowed are naturally-occurring mined substances, or materials of animal, vegetable or microbiological origin. Ingredients may be subjected to mechanical, physical, microbiological or enzymatic processes and restricted chemical processes only.
- Assessment of production processes and end products shall also take into consideration consumer perception of such products, and may not be allowed where there is general perception of such products not conforming to the general opinion of what is natural or organic.
Where potential risk of contamination from ingredients or inputs is noted, random residue tests shall be carried out by the operator to verify that levels of pesticides and heavy metals, among other contaminants, are absent or below acceptable limits within the production system.
In cases where input ingredients for the end product are sourced from potentially contaminating areas or processes, a Quality Management system compatible with HACCP principles shall be documented, implemented and recorded by the input manufacturer to ensure the authenticity of manufactured end product.
At all times you will need to keep information on all products so your auditor can check the input with you during your audit.
Sourcing Allowed Inputs
Registered Allowed Inputs can be found using the Organic Product Search tool; contact details of input suppliers and manufacturers can here be accessed.
AP products including cleaning materials, water, salt and processing additives/aids need to comply with the ACO Standard 2010, sections 9.4 to 9.6.
- Submit your application form with payment of the application fee, Handling Plan, Statutory Declaration and Ingredient declaration forms to the ACO office.
- The certification team will then conduct the initial document review for your application.
- Pending the successful outcome of your initial document review the Audit Coordinator allocated an onsite audit for your operation. The auditor will then contact you to set a preferred time and date for the audit.
- Your operation is audited. The auditor completes an audit report and discusses any compliance issues with you. *on-site audits are every two years.
- Audit report is sent to the ACO certification office.
- An invoice for the conducted audit is sent out to you for “immediate payment” to ensure the certification process is completed as quickly as possible.
- A licence agreement is sent to you to read thouroghly, sign, have witnessed and return to the office as soon as possible. Licence agreements may contain corrective actions that need to be responded to before certification/certificate is issued.
- All 30 day Corrective Action Requests (CAR’s) and outstanding invoices are to be closed/paid.
- Final decision to be made by the certification office.
- Australian Organic Registration certificate issued. This allows you to use the BFA Approved Product bud logo and to confidently supply certified organic operators with your products.