Certification by a recognised independent industry body is the consumers’ assurance of the quality, food safety, sourcing integrity and validity of claims of a product.At Ceres Organics, we are proud to say that our products carry ‘the stamp of approval’ from some of the most highly regarded certifying organisations in the world.
It all starts from the very source — we deal only with suppliers (organic farms, manufacturers and food companies) that are certified organic to worldwide leading standards such as the EKO Quality Mark of SKAL in the Netherlands, the JAS organic seal in Japan, the USDA organic label in America, and similarly in other countries where we source products from. We also carry a limited amount of IFOAM-accredited products for use in manufacturing. IFOAM stands for the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements and is the worldwide umbrella movement that provides a forum for more than 750 member organic and related organisations.
In New Zealand, our certifier of choice is BioGro. On every Ceres Organics, Zito and Ruby Grove product, you will see the BioGro logo with our certification number (#4310). This is your assurance that our products have been certified organic in accordance with BioGro standard regulations, set in accordance with the expectations of the New Zealand governmental regulations.
HOW ORGANIC CERTIFICATION WORKS
Let’s take our Peanut Butter as an example … from the growing of the peanuts through to the finished product (i.e. from farm to fork), every step of the production chain is certified according to worldwide organic standards. This means that:
- The orchard/farm where the peanuts are grown is certified organic
- The facility where the peanuts are processed (shelled and packed) is certified organic
- During transport, organic integrity is maintained (i.e. no fumigations, no irradiation, etc.)
- The manufacturing facility where the peanuts are roasted, ground and bottled is certified organic
- The warehouse where the finished goods are stored is certified organic
The certification process involves an independent organic certifier (like BioGro), who would visit a farm, processing facility, warehouse or shop and survey the organic status of their facility, administration and production. The inspection will include things like examination of soil or crop samples, product handling procedures, equipment cleaning protocols and agents used, pest control practices (no fumigation and chemicals are allowed), administrative assessments (documentation and paper flow) and many other details.
Only when the organic requirements are fully met is the certification granted. And this is followed by yearly inspections.