This can be a very confusing topic for many. However it doesn't have to be. We boil it down to some simple and easy to remember concepts so you can shop with ease and peace of mind.
Probably the most important advice is to be aware of the use of the terms "natural" or "organic" in the product or brand title. For instance, the brand Norganic produces a soy based mayonnaise that doesn't contain a single organic ingredient, and this product is often found in the "organic and natural foods" sections of grocery stores. Feeling deceived? This is green-washing 101 for the corporate world, simply insert "natural" or "organic" into the brand name and customers will trust the product, and this is terrible. To read an example of just how mainstream this tactic is, just read this report on the 3 billion dollar HAIN group of companies.
Ready for the simple rules?
1. "Organic" and "Natural" are non-regulated terms in Australia, and could even be legally used to describe bleach or chlorine, if anyone was to be so devious.
2. "Certified Organic" is a regulated term in Australia. This means that for it to be used, a product or retailer must be a member of the ACO or similar organization. There are half a dozen in Australia with varying levels of criteria to be met. But be aware, that even if a retailer is ACO certified, this does not mean everything they sell is certified organic or even organic. So in a nutshell, look for ACO certification of individual products only.