About Organic Food Certification Symbols

Annie Wilson, a fully certified Organic Farm NZ grower, says there is more to a "certified organic" label than may meet your eye.

As a grower of fruit and vegetables, I feel deeply the responsibility I have to consumers, who trust that I am working sustainably, to provide them with safe, fresh food. My farm’s full certification status proves this.
If you make a habit of searching out the usually easy to find certification label, you can be reasonably certain you’re getting what you expect.


The four to know

While the four certifying bodies all differ by degrees, their basic rules are the same: no short cuts to conversion; rigorous testing of soils, composts, product; clear records of inputs and their integrity; and protection of product from any possible contamination.
These four bodies all have their logos here in these pages. Look for them in your stores. Ask for them. Tell growers about them.

OrganicFarmNZ_sm_rgb_1_2.gifOrganic Farm New Zealand
was set up by Soil and Health and funding provided by MAF as a low cost certification scheme for smaller growers and those wanting to supply the domestic market only. It is based on a system of peer review, and growers are encouraged to sell locally. It does not cover produce for export with its related charges, so costs are considerably lower to members, helped along by thousands of hours from volunteers within the organisation. Other than that, OFNZ certification follows the Bio-Gro Standards. To go to the OFNZ website click here.

logo_cert.jpgEstablished in 1983, BioGro is New Zealand’s largest and best-known certification body. BioGro is the trading arm of the New Zealand Biological Producers and Consumers Council (NZBPCC), a not-for-profit organisation formed to safeguard the interests of producers and consumers of organic food and increase the awareness and demand for certified organic produce. BioGro’s Organic Standards have been developed specifically for New Zealand organic producers and BioGro offers a choice of two certification programmes: Export and IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements www.ifoam.org) accredited certification for export, or domestic certification for the local market. BioGro lists all its current licensees on their website. This is updated every week so consumers can use this to check if a producer is currently certified, including the scope of their certification. To go to the BioGro website click here.

is a world wide organization in 50 countries, and its brand is the symbol for food produced using bio-dynamic principles – the rules and recipes of Rudolf Steiner, including specific preparations and homeopathic remedies. Growers pay levies on produce sold. Their produce commands the highest prices in Europe. To go to the Demeter website click here.

Organic_generic_1.jpgThe AsureQuality Organic Standard is accredited by the world's leading organic organisation IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement) and has market access to the USA, European Union, Australia, South East Asia, the UK and Japan. Consumers can be confident that products certified to the AsureQuality Organic Standard have been produced to strict organic principles and are traceable throughout the supply chain.

AsureQuality certifies a vast range of products, production units and  manufacturers to their Organic Standard, and performs audits on  livestock farms, horticultural properties, apiarists, aquaculture farms and processors - as well as on 'inputs' such as fertilisers. Every producer or processor, once certified organic by AsureQuality, receives access to the AsureQuality organic certification mark and a certificate featuring their own unique number. This unique customer number enables product traceability throughout the supply chain.

As the Southern Hemisphere’s most accredited supplier of independent auditing, inspection and testing to the food and agricultural industries, AsureQuality can offer an integrated range of international food safety services such as BRC and GLOBALGAP - and carries out certification to EU Regulations, USDA National Organic Program and Japanese Agricultural Standard. They do not require levies.

The company is a State Owned Enterprise with 1700 people working across New Zealand and Australia. Their laboratory facilities provide world-class testing and analysis expertise to assure quality standards and global market access for food, dairy, meat, horticulture, wine and arable product. This includes third party IANZ accredited multi residue testing.

For more information or to request an Organic Certification Application Pack freephone 0508 00 11 22 or visit www.organiccertification.co.nz

Ask to see the certificate

If you can’t find a certification label, ask your retailer. (S)he should be able to provide proof of certification of labelled produce at any time. Anyone licensed under one of New Zealand’s four certification schemes will be only too pleased to display or show you the proof of their certification. They’ve worked hard for it. Each one has a registration number. If a seller doesn’t have it, you have no guarantee that the food is produced according to organic standards, or comes anywhere near it. You have the right to refuse uncertified products, and the more you do the more demand you’ll create for true, certified produce, and the more encouragement retailers will have to press their wholesalers to provide certified produce only.
There are four recognised organic certification schemes in New Zealand. They are reliable systems, and I think that consumers can trust the rigorous standards we, as certified producers, all work to.
BioGro lists all its current licensees on their website. This is updated every week so consumers can also use this to check if a producer is currently certified and the scope of their certification.

About Far North Organics

Another food certification symbol you may come across in the far north of The North Island, is the Regional Group, Far North Organic Growers Group Inc.


The Far North Organic Growers Group (FNOG) provides two organic certification systems:

  • OrganicFarmNZ certification to individual producers in the Far North – covering Whangarei in the south to Cape Reinga in the North; and
  • FNOG certification to individual producers – covering Kerikeri and all areas north.
  • FNOG certification is for those strictly supplying local markets in the area.

FNOG was established in 1989 and has been providing certification since this date. The establishment of OFNZ was partly influenced by the success of FNOG. For more information on Far North organics click here.

For information on Sustainable tourism certification symbols click here.