Why certify a restaurant as organic?
Certified organic restaurants are important as the last link at the end of a production chain of carefully grown and handled products adhering to organic standards. Essentially they provide assurance that what you buy is organic from paddock to plate – sustainable, non-chemical farming, no irradiation, no GMOs, no chemical processing and care taken in storage, transport and packaging.
As organic foods become more popular there are more cases of people claiming to be organic or to stock or serve organic food without the guarantee that certification provides.
In certified organic retail stores, organic produce is clearly labeled with a certification number for the consumer’s reassurance. Certified products are only labeled as such where accompanied by an organic transaction certificate or equivalent for traceability.
In certified organic restaurants, at least three menu items must use a minimum of 95% organic ingredients. Whenever possible, organic ingredients are to be used in all menu items, with organic ingredients clearly identified. Preference is on locally sourced, in-season organic ingredients.
Certification also encourages store or restaurant management to adopt an environmental focus. This includes use of pest control and cleaning products and practices that are natural and/or registered as approved for use in organic facilities, checking energy usage and waste control, assessing contamination risk, and educating staff in Standard requirements. Lets not forget, organic certification adds as competative edge to a business and is bound to put a smile on those seeking an organic menu!
See ‘Restaurants & Prepared Food Suppliers’ section of the Australian Certified Organic Standard for more information on restaurant certification requirements