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What does it mean to be ACO Certified Organic & how is it different to 100% Natural?

Being truly certified organic means that as a consumer buying on behalf of your pet, you can guarantee that you are providing your best friend with the highest quality healthy ingredients on the market and you can solely contribute to extending their life as a result of it.

‘Organic products that are ACO certified means they are free from human-made fertilisers, pesticides, growth regulators, and GMOs. Fresh organic produce including vegetables, fruits and poultry are generally higher in vitamins, minerals and omega-3s compared to non-organic products.’ (Difference Between Organic vs Australia Certified Organic | Terra Madre)

 It is this quality which is stringently moderated by the ACO to ensure that everyone holding the ACO logo is adhering to these requirements.

What tests does a company have to pass to be ACO certified?

Manufacturing Certified Organic Products means we need to pass a number of tests to ensure that our products meet the ACO Certified Organic Standard (Australian Certified Organic (aco.net.au)) ⁠

They include:⁠ ⁠
🍃 Full traceability of all ingredients back to the farm
🍃 Organic cleaning protocols⁠
🍃 Organic handling processes⁠
🍃 Full manufacturing audits on processes and premises⁠
🍃 Cleaning and hygiene standards to be met⁠
🍃 No pesticides used on ingredients⁠
🍃 No-GMOs included in formulas⁠
🍃 No irradiation of ingredients⁠

⁠ Other brands which are not Certified Organic do not need to adhere to any of the above - so why are you taking a risk with your dog's health? This process is not an easy one, which is why so many brands choose to not be organic or to instead claim that they are 100% natural.

What does 100% natural really mean?

‘The FDA has considered the term "natural" to mean that nothing artificial or synthetic (including all colour additives regardless of source) has been included in, or has been added to, a food that would not normally be expected to be in that food. However, this policy was not intended to address food production methods, such as the use of pesticides, nor did it explicitly address food processing or manufacturing methods, such as thermal technologies, pasteurization, or irradiation.’ (Use of the Term Natural on Food Labeling | FDA)

This highlights that the treatment of ingredients, how they have been manufactured or grown is not taken into consideration when highlighting their natural origin. A brand could easily claim to be natural, but include GMOs, pesticides, fumigants or be irradiated – a process which can actually kill cats it is so harmful.

 Furthermore there is no body in Australia that moderates pet food being labelled as natural. Nor is there a body which can certify brands as being natural. Therefore there is no way of truly knowing what you are feeding your pet. Something we believe is too great of a risk to take!

Reasons you should choose organic over ‘natural’

The Organic Food Directory (Why Choose Organic Food Australian Organic Food Directory) has outlined what we believe are the 13 best reasons why you should choose organic for yourself as well as your doggos:

1. Organic food tastes better. 

Organic farming starts with the nourishment of the soil, which leads to the nourishment of the plant and, ultimately, our palate. 

2. Organic food production helps protect future generations.

The average child receives approximately four times more exposure than an adult, to at least eight widely used cancer-causing pesticides in food. Food choices made in the family and community now, determine our children’s health – not only now but into the future.

3. Organic food has higher levels of nutrients. 

There is now plentiful research findings that show organic food is far superior in vitamin, mineral and nutrient content. They are especially higher in antioxidants, vitamin C, iron, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus. Organic foods have higher levels (up to six times) of salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is produced naturally in plants as a protective compound against stress and disease. Salicylic acid acts as an anti-inflammatory and helps combat hardening of the arteries.

4. Organic farming methods prevent soil erosion and build healthy soils.

Organic farms protect the environment by building soil organic matter and by mimicking natural systems rather than relying on synthetic fertilisers and pesticides. 

5. Organic farming helps protect water quality. 

Pesticides and other chemicals widely used in conventional farming contaminate ground water and rivers and pollute primary sources of drinking water.

6. Organic food is free of artificial additives. 

Organic food doesn’t contain food additives which can cause health problems such as heart disease, osteoporosis, migraines and hyperactivity. The use of antibiotics, anti-microbials, hormones and other growth promotants are prohibited in organic production. In the case that animals are treated with veterinary drugs or chemicals, they are prohibited from being sold as organic. The use of synthetic chemicals as preservatives, colourings, antioxidants etc are also prohibited in the processing of organic foods.

7. Chemical residues are missing or at very low levels in organically produced food. 

Many studies show that most conventionally farmed foods have pesticide and other chemical residues. Over 400 chemical pesticides are routinely used in conventional farming and residues are often present in non-organic food. Research has shown that 30 percent of insecticides, 60 percent of herbicides and 90 percent of fungicides are known to cause cancer. These chemicals can also lead to nervous and endocrine problems.

8. Organic food production uses less energy than conventional food production. 

Modern conventional farming uses more petroleum than any other industry. More energy is now used to produce synthetic fertilisers than to till, cultivate and harvest crops. Organic farming is still based on labour intensive practices such as hand weeding, green manure, and cover crops instead of chemicals.

9. Certified organic means GE/GM free

Genetically modified organisms are not allowed under the strict organic certification standards.

10. Organic farming practices maintain or enhance seed, crop and ecological biodiversity. 

According to a study reported in 2004, by New Scientist, ‘organic farming increases biodiversity at evert level of the food chain – all the way from lowly bacteria to mammals’. Organic farming uses traditional seeds, and focuses on a diverse range of plant species – this increases seed and crop biodiversity. Conventional farming relies on monocultures and chemicals to eradicate other plant and insect species – this considerably reduces biodiversity. One of the side-effects of the use of toxic pesticides is the inadvertent killing of non-target animals, plants and insects, which not only reduces biodiversity but may also exacerbate pest management problems by promoting pest resistance. 

11. Support for small farmers. 

When we purchase organic food we support traditional farming systems. Most organic farms are small, independently owned family farms of less than 50 hectares. Many family farms have been sold-up during the last couple of decades because of economies of scale – they are not profitable under conventional farming systems. Organic farming could be one of the ways family farms can survive.

12. Organic food has lower nitrates levels. 

The use of soluble chemical fertilisers has resulted in high nitrate concentrations in many conventionally farmed foods, especially in fruits and vegetables. The leaching of these fertilisers has also resulted in high nitrate levels in some drinking water systems around the world. The nitrate content of organically grown food is usually significantly lower than in conventionally grown produce. High nitrate levels in food and drinking water are converted to carcinogenic nitrosamines. Nitrates have been shown to impair the ability of the blood to carry oxygen, and may pose a risk of methemoglobinemia.

13. Organic food is not irradiated.
So what are you waiting for- Don’t Panic, Choose Organic today!