Certification is a continuous process that is managed by our Certification Technical Team here at ACO Certification Ltd.
A list of certified operators, suppliers, wholesalers, contract processors, non-organic ingredients, and much more, please refer to the Search Operators and Search Products section of the website, by clicking on the "Search" button at the top of this page.
The process from receiving your Applications to you receiving Certification is currently a 10 week period.
Producers should allow a minimum of 1 year “In Conversion” period subject to soil testing results. During such time you will have In Conversion Logos and a Certificate that states this so your clients/customers/consumers know that you are in the process and soon-to-be Certified.
Before becoming Certified Organic have a look at what Certification Services/Programs suit your needs and requirements; if you are only selling locally/across Australia you will only need to meet the ACOS Standards. However if you wish to export your product internationally you can also become Certified to do this through us, using the National Standards; under NOP (USA), Korea, Freshcare, IFOAM, JAS (Japan) or EU (European Union) Standards.
Application Process - Step by Step:
- Information – by submitting some of your information via Apply Now We will be able to send you the appropriate Information Kit(s), providing all relevant information and documents available through our website. Where you can read up on the process and Certification Details. ACO will do our own testing to verify you are organic, through which we can lay out step by step what you need to do to become organic.
- Application – the application forms provided to you are the real Step 1 of the process to becoming certified organic, once we have that information back it will be reviewed and assessed by our certification officers who will deem what tests need to be done on your product/region during your initial audit.
- Audit – an auditor will be sent out to assess and test your products and procedures. Soil testing, product testing and organic verification will be done on our end. Our Auditors can go through the process with you and talk you through anything they need at the time. If anything is picked up on our tests you will have a month to correct it (and we will tell you how and be able to support you through the process).
- Review – All of the information and testing will be reviewed on our end. Once this has been completed you will be sent out a Certificate. Your Certificate will be provided as organic or In Conversion, which indicates you are in the process. This shows that your product and farm are Certified Organic. As such you will be permitted to use our logo (which is recognised throughout Australia and overseas) and a logo with your Certification Number will be issued.
- Label Approvals – you can then send any labels you want to use/display/advertise with through to our Service Desk to be approved by our certification team.
- Product Approvals – as your business grows, you may be adding crops or products to your Certificate. You can do this at any stage throughout your Certification by submitting a product approval application to the Service Desk. The recipes/procedures will then be reviewed by our Certification Team and added to your Certificate.
- Ongoing Care – we will run annual audits and update your certification for as long as you want to continue being Certified Organic.
Any changes to your internal process or procedures will incur some changes on our end too. You can update ACO by submitting the relevant documentation/forms to our office via firstname.lastname@example.org
NOP, Korea and JAS Certification requires an annual review of your business process and procedures; when your audit is allocated you will receive notice that you are due to provide an updated Organic Management Plan (OMP). This will be done yearly prior to your audit.
These plans/documents will be reviewed by one of our Certification Officers and assessed according to your current Standards.
Organic Certification requires an annual audit be conducted to ensure you are continuously meeting the Standards.
You should have an audit 8 weeks prior to the expiry date on your current Certificate.
Our Audit Co-Ordinator will schedule and allocate your audit according to area and services/programs you are certified to. An audit notification letter will be sent to you detailing all relevant details and information, including who will be conducting your on-site audit.
The Certification Review Committee (CRC) will then process and assess your audit report along with any other relevant documentation on your profile to determine whether compliance is met.
Corrective Action Requests (CARs) may be raised at this stage and you will be notified appropriately. You will be given an appropriate time-frame to close these requests with written responses and relevant documentation.
You Organic Certificate will be issued to you as soon as we have verified your account is up to date. Your Certificate will be valid for a 12month period and will have an expiry date listed.
Corrective Actions Requests Process:
It's important to keep on top of any non-conformances raised so you can continue to trade as certified organic.
Corrective Actions Requests (CARs) may be raised when a non-conformance to the standards is identified as part of your audit, routine surveillance, due to complaints or residue detections. When a CAR is raised, it will have a due date assigned. If these CARs are not addressed by the due date specified in the CAR letter, your operation may face the Suspension Process.
*Please note, the suspension processes for certain standards may vary. Please contact the ACO office if you have any standard specific questions.
You have the right to appeal all decisions made by ACO. The appeal process is based on an application by you in writing to the Appeals Committee within 30 days of receipt of the certification decision. You can do this via the Contact Tab.
For all general enquires please contact the office on (07) 3350 5706 or email@example.com and you will be directed accordingly.