The Organic Federation of Australia (OFA) initiated the Australian Standard AS 6000-2009 to assist the existing regulatory system to be more effective in ensuring the integrity of organic and biodynamic products.
Now that the new standard AS 6000-2009 has been published it is important to understand how it could be used by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC).
The role of the ACCC is to regulate misleading and deceptive conduct under The Trade Practices Act 1974 (the TPA). The ACCC can take legal action against a trader for contraventions of the TPA. It particularly targets conduct that is widespread, blatant or involving serious detriment to consumers.
If you think you have seen a misleading, deceptive or false organic claim, report it to the ACCC.
The information on how to make a formal complaint to the ACCC is on their website:
The specific organic information can be found at:
The ACCC information centre is available to explain your rights and obligations under the legislation, and how they are likely to react to particular business practices. This service is available to both business and consumers and is free of charge.
The Infocentre can be contacted by calling 1300 302 502 (Australian callers) or + 612 6243 1305 (overseas callers). Staff are available during office hours (9am-5pm Mon-Fri Canberra time).
The critical issue is to have credible documentation to substantiate the case. For the ACCC to take action against a business it needs evidence to substantiate the allegation that the business has contravened the Trade Practices Act (TPA). While an ACCC investigation will gather that evidence, complaints that provide detail and set out the basis for concern are more likely to assist the ACCC in pursuing a matter.
Examples of the types of information that are useful for the ACCC when its investigating a matter include: dates and times of any conduct of concern, any way to substantiate an allegation, for example ex employees who know details of the conduct, other people who may be able to provide information and any written evidence.
Consumers and businesses that have been harmed can also take legal action against businesses for a contravention of the TPA.
Download this Guide to Organic Claims and Consumer Rights for more information.