Organic products are food items produced by methods that follow the standards of organic farming. The standards of organic farming vary worldwide. In India, these standards ensure that a product is grown without the use of fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics and induced hormones. However, there are no specifications for use of irradiation, industrial solvents or synthetic food additives.
The growth of organic products relies on bio-fertilizers such as compost, manure and bone meal. It puts emphasis on techniques such as crop rotation and mixed cropping. Biological pest control – that is, use of living organisms to address problems such as mites, insects and weeds – is encouraged in organic farming.
Organic foods are free from chemical substances and are therefore good for health. Also, they are environment-friendly as they cause less damage to the soil and environment.
FSSAI Regulations for ‘Organic Foods’
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) will soon be establishing new regulations for organic food products. To obtain the certification, a food product must conform to certain standards. At present, there are a lot of certification marks for organic food products. These certification standards will be considered while setting the new standards. Also, the new standards will be set after consulting a group of experts. Consumers pay a lot more to buy organic food products. A credible certification mark will guarantee that they have invested in the right product.
Certifications and Symbols Related to Organic Products in India
Participatory Guarantee System – India (PGS- India)
The Participatory Guarantee System is a quality assurance initiative that is locally relevant, emphasises the participation of stakeholders, including producers and consumers, and operates outside the frame of third-party certification.
PGS-India is a government programme being operated by the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation under the National Project on Organic Farming. Its main objectives are:
- promotion of organic farming through a low-cost certification system (Participatory Guarantee System);
- promotion of organic farming in the country through technical capacity building of all stakeholders including human resource development, transfer of technology, promotion and production of quality organic and biological inputs; and
- awareness creation and publicity through print and electronic media.
National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP)
India Organic is a certification mark for organic products manufactured in India. It is authorised by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India. It certifies that the organic product conforms to the national standards for organic products. The certification is issued by centres accredited by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) under the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP).
ECOCERT Certification Mark
Ecocert is an organic certification organisation that has subsidiaries in several countries including India. The organisation was established by a group of agronomists who were aware of the need to develop environment-friendly agriculture methods and techniques and certify products grown via organic farming.
European Union Organic Logo and USDA Organic
It’s common to see these logos on Indian food product labels. Many organic products manufactured in India are exported to the USA and European nations. The presence of these marks on the product certifies that the product is as per the standards set by the agencies in these countries.
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