According to FSSAI, Companies not sticking to standards will be prosecuted. From this July, it would be illegal to sell organic food that’s not appropriately labelled so.
Numerous companies these days are showing up with products which are called ORGANIC. But most of them are hoax since there is no regulation or certification which the company goes through. And the organics are sold at much dearer prices when compared to other products. In a appreciable move, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) issued regulations that required food companies selling organic produce to get certified with one of the two authorities — National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) or the Participatory Guarantee System for India
Companies could also get a voluntary logo from the FSSAI that marked its produce as ‘organic.’ Though the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) and Participatory Guarantee System for India (PGS) has been in the organic certification system, but the certification was mostly voluntary. The organic products are labeled authenticated organic after severe and rigorous processes. Starting with soil, air and the seed etc. all has to be organic, in a bid to certify the product to be organic.
“From July, any company that claims to sell organic food and not sticking to standards can be prosecuted,” told Pawan Aggrawal, CEO, FSSAI.
“Labelling on the package of organic food shall convey full and accurate information on the organic status of the product. Such product may carry a certification or quality assurance mark of one of the systems mentioned… in addition to the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India’s organic logo,” said a FSSAI notification on January 2 and published in the Gazette. These rules were finalised after almost a year of being sent out as a draft for public comments.
For nearly two decades now, organic farming certification had been done through a process of third party certification under the NPOP. It was run by the Ministry of Commerce and was used for certifying general exports. Nearly 24 agencies were authorized by the NPOP to verify farms, storages and processing units and successful ones got a special ‘India Organic’ logo.
The PGS-India programme, in contrast, had been around for only two years and — unlike the top-down approach of the NPOP — involves a peer-review approach. Here, farmers played a role in certifying whether the farms in their vicinity adhered to organic-cultivation practices. This programme was implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture through the National Centre of Organic Farming.
Currently, The certified and tested organic products are labeled with FSSAI’s logo. The logo is called “JAIVIK BHARAT” logo. In India, around 1.7% of area is under organic farming.