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POLICY & REGULATIONS

FSSAI releases unified organic food regulation at Organic World Congress
Friday, 10 November, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, New Delhi
In the spirit of One Nation, One Food Law, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) released a unified regulation on organic foods at the Organic World Congress, which commenced recently. A common logo for organic foods was also unveiled and will be notified for use subsequently.

This umbrella regulation will cover under its ambit the two existing systems of organic certification, namely the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) of the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Exports Development Authority (APEDA) and the Department of Commerce and Participatory Guarantee System for India (PGS-India) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.

It will also provide for the recognition of other certification systems in the future. The apex food regulator is mandated to regulate organic foods in the country under the provisions of Section 22 of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.

The current regulation is notified under this provision. FSSAI had initiated the development of this regulation about a year ago, through extensive consultations with various stakeholders, including related ministries, agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), farmer organisations, etc.

Following this, the draft regulation was notified, seeking comments from stakeholders. And only after taking all inputs into consideration, the current regulation was put together.

Under the Food Safety and Standards (Organic Foods) Regulations, 2017, any foods offered or promoted for sale as organic foods are required to comply with all the requirements of NPOP, PGS-India or any other certification system that may be approved by FSSAI in future.

However, direct sales of organic foods by small farmers, producers or producer organisations to the end consumer are exempt from this requirement. All organic foods under the regulation have to comply with the other regulations of FSSAI, as applicable.

To facilitate consumers and food businesses, the Indian Organic Integrity Database Portal was launched on this occasion to help consumers verify the authenticity of organic foods.

It has been jointly developed by FSSAI, APEDA and PGS-India. Through the portal, the consumers can access all information with respect to the producer, the certification system and the availability of certified organic products.

Currently, both systems in operation have separate logos, which would be integrated into a unified logo for organic food in due course.

The unified logo is an identity mark to distinguish organic products from non-organic ones, supported with the tagline Jaivik Bharat at the bottom, for easy identification of organic food from India.

Effectively intertwining the elements of the environment, the logo communicates adherence to the National Organic Standards.

FSSAI organised a workshop to sensitise the accredited certification bodies (CBs) under NPOP recently.

This initiative was appreciated by the CBs, and it was assured that they are fully prepared for the increased workload, which is likely to come with the notification of the Food Safety and Standards (Organic Foods) Regulations, 2017.
 
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