You might have seen the 7.30 Report about Nutri-tech, a business supplying certified organic farming products, which had either:
a) higher than allowed levels of benzene
b) contained synthetic nitrogen, a non-organic input.

The story focused on the organic industry’s ability to ensure products are actually organic.  So you might ask what is done to stop operators like this breaking the rules?  As in all industries there will always be somebody who will try to get around the rules for their own advantage – organics is no different.

The organics industry is regulated by an agreed set of organic standards which are monitored and enforced by certifying organisations.  Certifying bodies send inspectors for annual site visits to farms and businesses to conduct audits of inputs, practices and financial records – any breaches are noted and if serious or left unaddressed the operator will have their certification withdrawn.

In this case the whistle was blown by workers who saw the wrong-doing and felt it was their duty to report that their employer had broken the rules.  Organic certification is not perfect. The standards are in place and monitored but like our legal system it relies on the integrity of operators and the trust of customers. It is a human system and there will always be someone trying to take advantage. Thankfully it happens very rarely.

What can you do? Stay informed.

For general information on organic certification
Organic Standards and FAQs

CERES Organic Farm does not use either of the products featured in this program.

Chris Ennis
General Manager
CERES Fair Food


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  1. It gets me how the media seem happy to attack the organic produce industry at any opportunity. While it is disappointing that people cheat the good faith system that is in place, I still wonder why the focus is on an industry that is trying to do good, and not on the mainstream food industry that can and does use chemical products on a regular basis to pump up food. Anyway, to me the proof is in the pudding. Organic food just tastes better. Anyone caught cheating, however, should be harshly dealt with by all those who care about what we put into our bodies, and the effect we have on the environment.

  2. Hi Chris,
    The system needs to be changed as the 2 products mentioned are the tip of the iceberg. The problem is way bigger than you can imagine. Hopefully the ACO will put in measures to stop this type of behaviour as it will destroy the organic brand and innocent farmers livelihoods are put into jeopardy.

    Kind regards
    Tim Lester