1. Agriculture World

UK Waives Off ETO Contamination Tests for India’s Organic Products

The UK's repeal of mandatory testing for ETO contamination of Indian organic agriculture products, according to trade analyst S Chandrasekaran, is "a great recognition" for India's revamping of the Organic Agriculture Certification system.

Shivam Dwivedi
Organic Products
Organic Products

United Kingdom has no longer required imports of Indian organic products to be tested for ethylene oxide (ETO) contamination since July 1. This is a significant step forward and a vote of confidence in the Indian organic certification process, especially in dealing with ETO contamination.

The UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) made testing of Indian organic products mandatory on January 1, this year. The order requiring ETO contamination tests, however, expired on June 30.

According to the UK Soil Association, Indian organic products arriving in the UK no longer require importer testing. Defra will, however, continue to monitor organic product imports from India.

The UK's repeal of mandatory testing for ETO contamination of Indian organic agriculture products, according to trade analyst S Chandrasekaran, is "a great recognition" for India's revamping of the Organic Agriculture Certification system.

The United Kingdom's (UK) decision to eliminate the need for ETO contamination tests may now persuade the European Union (EU) to follow suit. "If the UK takes such a step, the EU may follow." "Food testing standards in the UK are very high," he explained.

Until last year, the presence of ETO caused the EU to reject many Indian organic shipments. However, the situation appears to have levelled off.

This will help India's position in the ongoing free trade talks with the EU. "There will be more recognition in the coming months," Chandrasekaran predicted. The UK move comes as India's authority for organic farming, product production, and exports, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), has begun cracking down on certification irregularities.

Two weeks ago, APEDA took action against three agencies, including one in Europe, for lapses in the certification process. The National Accreditation Board (NAB) for organic products revoked one certification agency's accreditation, cancelled another, and reported a third to the European Union.

It has also given its approval to all three certifying bodies. APEDA previously suspended TQ Cert in January of this year for similar reasons.

More importantly, APEDA banned five certifying agencies in November of last year after organic products certified for export by them were found to violate the European Commission's ETO standards. In recent years, India exported approximately $1 billion in organic products, with the largest buyers being the United States, the European Union, and Canada.

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