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What’s the difference between Organic and Certified Organic?

The consumer market is a confusing one – thousands of products claiming things like all natural, organic or certified organic – but what does it really all mean? Unfortunately in the pet market, regulations are even more loose than those for us humans. This means that many brands these days can engage in greenwashing– the marketing activity of presenting an environmentally responsible image, despite not being environmentally conscious at all – with very little consequences. This is evident in a huge number of products with brands claiming that they are all natural or organic – but what really is organic? Unless a product is Certified Organic – you cannot guarantee that the ingredients used have passed the stringent testing required for a product to be considered really organic.

What does organic certification really mean?

It is important to take note of Certified Organic brands and products. Australian Certified Organic food has been tested and approved by the ACO certification body, which guarantees the organic integrity of organic food products (Difference Between Organic vs Australia Certified Organic | Terra Madre). Without certification no-one can verify how the ingredients have been farmed, what chemicals have been used and what has been included into the final product. Only Certified Organic products can guarantee that they have been grown, harvested, and processed without the use of GMOs, pesticides and synthetic chemicals – including insecticides, fumigants, herbicides, and fungicides. The ACO undertakes yearly audits on its processors, farmers and handlers to ensure that this chain of organic integrity is never broken. 

Certification with Australian Certified Organic 

 ACO Certification ensures compliance with national production standards and means all certified products, processes and production methods can be traced back to their origin. In order to be labelled certified organic, a food product must be free of artificial food additives. This includes artificial sweeteners, preservatives, colouring, flavouring, and monosodium glutamate (MSG - commonly known for its inflammatory properties in many human foods). Organically grown crops also tend to use natural fertilizers like manure to improve plant growth and animals raised organically are not given antibiotics or hormones to speed up their growth. Organic farming is also better for the sustainability of our environment by improving soil quality and the conservation of groundwater and also reducing pollution for the environment. (What Is Organic Food, and Is It More Nutritious Than Non-Organic Food? (healthline.com))

Are there really any health benefits to feeding certified organic?

There is extensive scientific evidence to show that feeding animals certified organic foods can lead to; higher antioxidant content which helps protect cells from damage, whilst also benefiting growth, reproduction, and the immune system. 

Similar studies in chickens being fed organic diets have found that such a diet has lead to a reduction in weight gain and stronger immune systems (Human health implications of organic food and organic agriculture: a comprehensive review (nih.gov)).

Other studies have also shown that organic foods can lower the risk of allergies and eczema – which is supaw™ important when looking at our best buddies! (Allergic diseases and atopic sensitization in children related to farming and anthroposophic lifestyle--the PARSIFAL study - PubMed (nih.gov)). 

As humans in life we tend to believe you are what you eat!
The same goes for our furry friends – so why risk feeding them ingredients that could be harmful to their health?
We recommend always checking the labels, looking for an ACO certified organic stamp of approval and being aware of what is really in the products you are feeding your dog. Because if it’s good for us it often also means its good for them!