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How to Get Organic Food Certification and What are the Norms?

Chintu Das
Chintu Das
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Organic Food: 

Organic foods are results of agrarian works concentrating on bio-assorted variety, soil well being, chemical free sources etc. with an ecologically and socially dependable methodology that have been created as per organic creation guidelines. 

Regulation of Organic Food: 

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) regulates the overall process with regard to Organic food. FSSAI looks after the manufacturing, circulation, marketing etc. according to the regulation laid out under Section 22 of the Food Safety Standards Act, 2006. 

Systems of Certification: 

Currently, 2 systems of certification are present under the Food Safety and Standards Regulations, 2017 (Organic Food). One is the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS - India) and the other one is the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP). PGS - India is established under Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare and NPOP is established under Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Interested parties can enter by using any one of the systems. 

Responsible for Certification: 

In case of NPOP, Accredited Certification Bodies and in the case of PGS - India, Local Groups are responsible for certifying the organic food.  

Some of the Accredited Certification Bodies, NPOP under APEDA include Uttarakhand State Organic Certification Agency (USOCA), APOF Organic Certification Agency (AOCA) and Rajasthan Organic Certification Agency (ROCA). 

“India Organic” is the certification mark for India. The certification implies that the organic food product is in accordance with the National Standards for Organic Products established in the year 2000. 

Starting a new Organic Food business: 

The new Food Business Operator (FBO) should obtain a certification under either NPOP or PGS - India system of certification. Registration or License under Food Safety and Standards Regulations (FSSR) is required for the new FBO to start with the business. 

India Organic Certification for exports can be obtained from the testing centers authorized by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), falling under NPOP system of certification. 

Steps of attaining the Organic Certification from APEDA: 

 - Book an organic certification agent 

- Fill in the agent’s application form 

- Agent will review the form and check if the product is in line with the regulations. 

- There will be a site inspection 

- Remaining paperwork will be completed and a label is provided. 

The cost of getting the label may vary between 20000 to 60000 rupees. Also the authenticity is checked within a time range of 2 to 3 years. Checking of land or soil takes a year or two as the checking will be done if the soil fulfills the basic requirements or not. The soil should be free of prohibited particulars such as synthetic fertilizers etc. for a couple of years. 

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Who are exempted from NPOP and PGS - India certification: 

Direct marketing done by Small original producers or producer organisations to the end consumer and having an annual turnover of not more than ₹12 lakh are permitted to do business without the certifications. 

Labelling: 

Labelling should convey full and correct information about the organic status of the product. A certification or quality assurance mark should be there in the label. Also the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India’s (FSSAI) organic logo should be there. Apart from FSSAI’s logo, labelling should show any other quality assurance or certification of any other system under the regulations.  

The below particulars should be present in the label: 

  • Food Name

  • Ingredients List

  • Information about product nutrition

  • Food additives declaration

  • Vegetarian or non-vegetarian declaration

  • Manufacturer name and address

  • Quantity details

  • Tractability information such as Code Number or Batch Number

  • Manufacturing or packaging date details

  • In case of imported food, Origin country details

  • Expiry date information

  • Instructions for usage

Bottom Line: 

Food safety is a genuine general wellbeing concern for quite a while in our nation. Contamination and food outrages are consistently tormenting India for over a decade. This emergency over food safety issues should be directed and constrained by the government. This might be conceivable with an unmistakable and steady food regulatory strategy, and their implementation. 

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