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Organic Certification and Symbols for Organic Food in India

It’s true, of course, that there’s relatively less awareness about organic products, what goes into the process, how is their credibility established, what are the long-term effects, and so on. consumers often assume that foods that are labelled ‘organic’ are good for health and they can be consumed freely. Fact is, all foods labelled as ‘organic’ may not necessarily have the desired impact on health – their consumption must be regulated. Also, there are a lot of products that claim to be organic but may not really be grown organically. It’s all quite puzzling in a way, and the only way to deal with it is to have essential information on our fingertips. To begin with, let us understand what organic foods are, why they are priced high, and the certification marks related to organic products in India.

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:

  1. promotion of organic  farming  through  a  low-cost  certification system  (Participatory  Guarantee  System);  
  2. 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
  3. 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.

You might like to read: Are Organic Food Products Healthier and Expensive too?


Divya Patwal


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