Companies not sticking to standards will be prosecuted.
From July 2018 every organic food needs to be properly labeled.
The sale of organic foods has seen a steady rise over the last couple of years as people have become more health-conscious. If you are also a fan of organic foods, then you might be surprised to know that all companies that claim to sell organic foods are not genuine. There are companies that are selling so-called organic foods without any certification or approval from the FSSAI. The organization is planning to weed out such sellers soon.
Lack of FSSAI Registration
Most of the companies that claim they sell organic foods have been fooling people as there is no certification or regulation available that it needs to go through. They sell organic foods at a higher price without proper certification from FSSAI.
The New Move
According to FSSAI, the companies which are not sticking to set standards will be prosecuted, and from July 2018, if anyone is selling organic food that is not appropriately labeled, it would come under the heading of illegal. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has also issued regulations that will require food companies claiming to sell organic foods to get certified by either the Participatory Guarantee System for India (PGS India) or National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP).
Companies that are actually selling organic foods need to mark the produce as organic by getting a voluntary logo from the FSSAI. Till now, getting certification from PGS India or NPOP was mostly voluntary, but this is going to change soon. The foods will be labeled authentic after a thorough and rigorous investigation. If a company claims to sell organic foods, it needs to ensure that everything from soil, air, seed is organic; only then will the product be labeled as organic.
Pawan Aggrawal who serves as the CEO of FSSAI has stated that any company which claims to sell organic foods but is not sticking to standards can be prosecuted.
A notification was published in the Gazette on January 2 which stated that labels on the package of organic food should convey accurate and complete information on the organic status of the product. The product should also carry a quality assurance or certification mark of PGS India or NPOP as well as an organic logo by FSSAI. These rules were made after about a year of sending out drafts for public comments.
For about two decades, organic farming certification was put into effect via a process of third-party certification that fell under NPOP. It was handled by the Ministry of Commerce and was primarily used for certifying general exports only. About 24 agencies were authorized by NPOP to verify processing units, farms, and storage. Only the companies that were successful got a special ‘India Organic’ logo.
PGS India’s Efforts
The PGS Indian programme began about two years back, and it involves a peer-to-peer approach. In this program, farmers were responsible for certifying whether the organic farmers were adhering to organic-cultivation practices or not. This program was implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture via the National Centre of Organic Farming.
In India, only 1.7 percent of the area is under organic farming, and certified and tested organic products are labeled with an FSSAI’s logo known as “JAIVIK BHARAT.”
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