Below you will find official statements from our Ethics & Research team.
COVID-19: An Important Update For Our Shoppers
LAST UPDATED: Wednesday 1 April 2020
All three Santos Organics stores are open as we are an essential business. We have set up hygiene stations and social distancing measures throughout our stores, so you can feel safe when shopping with us. Please shop online or phone in your order if you are unwell.
Due to unprecedented sales for our stores and online, we are experiencing shortages in stock levels for dry goods, remedy and hygiene products. We are working diligently with our suppliers to rebuild our stock levels and where possible increase our levels to support the current demand. We have introduced product restrictions to ensure that everyone is able to access essential items.
This is unchartered territory for all of us, may we all do our best to remain thoughtful, kind, calm, empathetic and most of all courteous. We appreciate your patience and support. Please contact us if you have any special circumstances that you need our assistance with.
Read on for some important information and advice relating to shopping at Santos during the pandemic, we will keep updating this information as and when required:
Trading Hours at our Stores & Cafes
Store hours are normal and Santos Organics does not plan to close the stores. However due to Government regulations our cafes in Byron and Mullumbimby are now closed until further notice. The cafe at Byron Arts & Industrial Estate will be open for take-away hot drinks only, from Mon-Fri 9am-12pm, otherwise closed.
To be able to provide access to the essential products for everyone in the community, we have decided to temporarily restrict purchases on the following products:
- All Santos and any other brand packaged goods per product type – 2 units
- All bulk products – 2 kilos (there will be no selling of slabs, cases or 25kg sacks)
- Tins – 2 units per product type (no slabs)
- Tomato bases – 2 units
- Toilet paper – 2 unit
- Paper towels – 2 units
- Tissues – 2 units
- Hand sanitisers – 2 units (once stock arrives)
- Remedy – 1-2 units or per Naturopath direction
We will monitor our levels and make adjustments as necessary to restrict or increase quantities based on our supply levels. By doing this we are aiming to keep supplies available for all of our shoppers.
We are temporarily suspending our refund policy to discourage over-purchasing and further reduce spread of COVID-19 through potentially contaminated returned products. From the 19 March 2020, until further notice, we will not provide a refund where you have changed your mind about products purchased from Santos Organics.
If you have already purchased additional items you no longer want, please look at donating them to community organisations or neighbours who have been struggling to purchase them during this time.
If you are showing any flu like symptoms including: cough, fever, congestion or sore throat please consider alternative methods of shopping with us such as online, calling or emailing an order or calling in a consult with our Naturopaths – see our website for contact details.
Together with our store employees we’ve agreed on new conditions of entry to our stores:
- Our team will be practicing social distancing with 1.5 metre distance between one another where possible. We ask customers to be mindful of this too. We will be avoiding unnecessary human contact such as hand shakes, hugging and instead we will opt for smiles, verbal hellos, namaste gesture or hand on heart to let you know we are happy to see you
- Use our natural hand sanitiser to assist us in preventing the spread of COVID-19 prior to entering the shop
- Practice good hygiene in our stores including using our natural hand sanitiser before using the scoops and utensils in our bulk section and when using the EFTPOS machine or handling money
- Respect other customers and look out for those less able
- Respect our restriction policy so we don’t have to bring up ‘working our system’, there will be enough for everyone if you buy only what you need
- We remind you that we will not accept any violent behaviour (verbal or physical) in or around our stores and the police will be called immediately if required
- May we all be kind, be calm, be empathetic and most of all be courteous
In return, we are supporting and advising our employees and have implemented thorough hygiene procedures to ensure you can shop with confidence.
We thank you for your understanding and continued patience as our teams work hard to support you and our local community, and we look forward to serving you the best way we can throughout these unexpected times.
For more information and the latest updates please check this page or our Facebook Page
New Card Payment Processing Fees
Valued Customers and Community,
Each time we accept payment by card, we incur a transaction cost for processing both debit and credit card payments. Card use has been on a significant rise with more convenient options like PayWay. These conveniences cost businesses more money than ever before by incurring higher transaction costs that are applied by banks and card issuers, costing us tens of thousands of dollars annually.
This means that we are now facing a substantial annual operational cost that is impacting our ability to meet our desired objectives of serving our community and supporting other not-for-profit organisations through our grants and donations.
As we don’t want to increase the costs of our products to cover these fees, we are applying a 1.5% surcharge on all card transactions starting 1 April 2020. Should you wish to avoid the surcharge we invite you to pay with cash.
Thank you for your understanding!
Santos Bamboo keep cups
We’d love to tell you a bit about our Santos bamboo keep cups and what they are made from, since there has recently been some mixed information in the media about bamboo cups / tableware and the melamine-formaldehyde resin used in the manufacture of these cups. We also want to take this opportunity to demystify some information about melamine and formaldehyde – 2 chemical compounds that are not as scary as we all think!
The Santos keep cups are made from a type of bamboo fibreware, which has been manufactured in accordance with strict EU food safety standards and regulations. The material of these cups comprises approximately 75% bamboo fibre and a resin of 25%.
The resin is made up of formaldehyde and organic compound melamine and the manufacturers of these cups have carried out specific testing with independent institutions such as TÜV Rheinland to ensure compliance with the EU’s strict food contact safety regulations ((EC) No 1935/2004 and (EC) No 10/2011) and to show that the presence of these chemical compounds do not exceed prescribed EU limits (Commission Regulation (EU) No 10/2011 and its amendments).
Specifically, testing for the migration of formaldehyde articles within the scope of (EU) No 284/2011 and 2,4,6-Triamino and 1,3,5-Triazine (Melamine) was carried out on these cups by simulating a liquid of 3% acetic acid (similar to coffee) at a temperature of 70 degrees for a period of 2 hours. The tests showed that the amount of these chemical compounds in the liquid was significantly less than the prescribed EU limits and that they successfully passed the testing process. A copy of the independent test results commissioned by the manufacturer of our cups can be found HERE.
In looking at these test results, it is important to note that the simulated conditions are extreme and therefore in practical terms, this means that our actual exposure to formaldehyde and melamine from drinking a hot drink (not exceeding 70 degrees Celsius) in these cups over a few minutes is extremely and negligibly low, to non-existent.
However, as a health conscious community, when we hear that something contains formaldehyde, our immediate response tends to be that it is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. While this is certainly true when it comes to high levels of exposure to formaldehyde at an occupational level, a little known fact about formaldehyde is that it also occurs naturally as part of human metabolic process, as well as in many fruits and vegetables, including apples, bananas, grapes, plums, onions, carrots and spinach and we are exposed to it regularly without any apparent, hazardous or detrimental effects on our health. You can find out more in this interesting article by the International Food Information Council Foundation which talks about the safety and prevalence of formaldehyde in our daily lives and the negligible impact that it has on our health in small amounts.
Similarly, when we think of melamine foodware, we commonly respond to this with the same hesitation and trepidation. Over the years, there has been information in the media about the leaching of melamine components 2,4,6-Triamino and 1,3,5-Triazine into food coming into contact with melamine. This report by the World Health Organisation demystifies this information and also formed an important part of our research when considering selling these cups.
One of the reasons that we wanted to share all this information with you is because there has recently been an article on bamboo coffee cups and tableware by a German consumer group Stiftung Warentest that caught our attention. This article says that there were “high levels” of melamine and formaldehyde when similar tests to those described above were carried out consecutively and repeatedly. The article states that these chemical compounds were present after numerous tests but does agree that generally melamine resin is harmless as long as certain conditions are met – namely that liquids contained within them do not exceed a temperature of 70 degrees Celsius for prolonged periods of time (ie. longer than 2 hours). Interestingly, the report does not give a numerical reading of these “high” levels and how it compares to the EU standards but similar articles have since followed and we have explored all the information as it has become available to ensure that our research is kept up to date.
As a result, after much consideration and research, we have concluded that the Santos keep cups are safe to contain drinks (or foods) as long as they are NOT used in microwaves or ovens or filled with drinks exceeding a temperature of 70 degrees Celsius and they are NOT kept at this temperature for periods longer than 2 hours. We’d also like to let you know that the coffee that we serve at our cafes is always less than 70 degrees Celsius (and consumed in much less time than 2 hours!) so you can rest assured that our cups are not only safe but also a great contribution towards eliminating single-use waste!