The term “Organic” a conflict of integrity and profitability

Author: Brian McLean, Research Chemist, Tri Nature Pty Ltd

Brian McLean is one of the Managing Directors of Tri Nature Pty Ltd. Brian’s knowledge and expertise have won Tri Nature many manufacturing awards, including the Australian Business Award for Best Eco-Friendly Product in 2011, 2014, 2015 & 2016. His dedication to environmental technologies has identified him as an ‘in-demand’ author of many published articles on this industry.

There are two broad classes of chemical ingredients in nature – organic and inorganic. As a general rule, organic (carbon based) compounds are animal or plant based, and inorganic compounds are mineral based, although many plants contain inorganic minerals in their structure. Both types are essential to our existence and survival, and neither can be considered either “good” or “bad” simply because of their chemical category.

Unfortunately, in seeking to create an awareness of good ecological practice, the environmental movement chose the term “organic” to indicate a safe and sustainable method of agriculture. This created a confusion of terms.

How is it for example, that a vegetable, which is a blend of organic and inorganic compounds, if treated with an insecticide (an organic compound) cannot then be deemed “certified organic”?

To further exacerbate the situation, numerous organisations around the world set themselves up as self appointed guardians of what was and what was not “certified organic” and created benchmarks by which products could be labeled accordingly with their support and authority. The rules, individually and collectively, changed and evolved as various pressure groups asserted their influence until now the original concept has been lost and the certification process has become ludicrous.

To consider that a cosmetic or specialty product that has gone through numerous chemical processes can be “certified organic” is ridiculous, and to consider that a product marketed this way is considered any safer or more effective is equally absurd.

Australian government authorities are currently assessing the situation, with a view of legislating guidelines that will bring some reason to this dilemma that has led to a great deal of misinterpretation and misleading marketing.

It should be clarified at this point that Tri Nature supports the growing of vegetable and other plant crops without the use of pesticides or artificial fertilisers. It is the terminology and the corruption of the original purpose that we find unpalatable.

Tri Nature is very careful in its choice of raw ingredients. We do not use products sourced from genetically modified crops. In the majority of cases, and where it is possible to do so, we ensure that crops from which our ingredients are made are grown without the use of pesticides or weedicides. In all cases we guarantee all our ingredients are free from any chemical residues by a certificate of analysis or individual testing.