Enhancing Credibility through Public Private partnership

Posted on: 15th February 2013

Organically Yours
Ong Kung Wai

Mar 2012

 After two years of announcements, enforcement of the Malaysian organic labelling regulation has finally started from beginning of 2012.  According to regulation, products claiming to be organic have to be certified by the Department of Agriculture (DoA), or have certification recognised by the DoA.

Farm production

The DoA operates Skim Organik Malaysia (SOM) for certification of farm production.  Farm operators should contact the DoA for SOM certification.

Processing & Imports

A wide range of certified and self-claimed organic products are available in the Malaysian market.  Majority of organic processed products are imported.  This is not unusual as the country, in general, imports lots of food products.  Moreover, as the organic industry is relatively young, not many local food processors have started processing organic products.  Many processed products are imported in bulk and repacked into smaller consumer packs. 

Domestic processors, including re-packers of bulk products, need certification to label their products as organic.  Importers need verification that certification of imported organic products meet the Malaysian organic labelling regulation.  Currently SOM does not cover certification of processing or verification of imports.  Hence OAM is working to offer certification of processing and verification of imported organic products to fill the gap. 

Organic Malaysia mark

Maintaining consumer trust and market confidence in organic products is important to the growth of the sector.  With products imported from all over the world bearing different certification marks in the market, it can be confusing for consumers as well as retail buyers to identify a credible organic product.  How will retailers know that products of their import supplier meet the Malaysian regulation and communicate it to their consumers?

Together with certification of processing and verification of imported organic products, OAM will also introduce the Organic Malaysia mark to facilitate easy identification of authentic certified organic products.  Certified processors and verified importers can use the Organic Malaysia mark on qualified products.  Registered products and operators will be featured in the Organic Malaysia website directory for easy public identification.

 OAM is in discussion with the DoA regarding collaboration to enforce the organic labelling regulation.  Hopefully an effective public-private partnership can be developed to provide the services necessary for a smooth enforcement of the labelling regulation.  Having just two clear marks, i.e. SOM for domestic farm produce and Organic Malaysia for processed products and imports, retailers and consumers will soon be able to identify authentic organic products.