ORGANIC FOODS UNDER FSSAI
Over the past few decades, India has emerged as a major player in the global organic food market. Twenty years ago, our contribution to the organic food market was limited to tea exports. Now we export more than 300 products to more than 20 countries. These exports represent up to 135 million tons of certified food products.
India currently has the largest number of organic food producers and ranks 9th in terms of area devoted to organic farming. Many farmers are adopting organic farming and the state encourages such practices. Sikkim has been declared the first fully organic state in India.
What are Organic foods?
Organic foods are any products of holistic farming practices that focus on biodiversity, soil health, chemical-free inputs, etc. with an environmentally and socially responsible approach, produced in accordance with the standards of organic production.
Section 22 of the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 states that the country's organic food industry is also regulated by the FSSAI. This is done to ensure that there is a consistent food law in the country.
The Food Safety and Standards (Organic Food) Regulations 2017 are based on the National Program for Organic Production (NPOP) standards and the Participatory Guarantee System. The customer will be sure of the authenticity after the regulation has been communicated.
Applicability of the Organic Food Regulations
These regulations apply to any person, whether individual or business, involved in the manufacture, packaging, repackaging, importation, sale, distribution and marketing of organic food subject to these regulations fall, and they must abide by it.
Exemption from organic regulations?
- Small organic food manufacturer
- Organization of organic food manufacturers (as determined by the Food Safety Authority from time to time) involved in the marketing and sale of their organic food products to final customers is exempt from complying with these regulations.
Characteristics of the Organic Food Regulations
Following are the highlights of the Food Safety (Organic Food) Regulations and Standards 2017 -
1. Any food product offered for sale must comply with the applicable provisions of the following system
a. National Program for Production (NPOP)
b. Participatory Guarantee Scheme for India (PGS India)
c. Any other scheme to be determined by the Food Authority in the future
2. These regulations are divided into two main parts;
a. Labelling and Certification and
b. Imports and Reciprocity
3. Labelling Requirement
a. The labelling of an organic food product must provide all the precise information related to its organic status.
b. The FSSAI organic logo must be printed on the product label.
c. In addition to the FSSAI logo, the label may also bear the quality assurance or certification mark of any of the schemes covered by this regulation.
4. Display Requirements:
a. The seller or promoter of organic food must display it in a way that distinguishes it from regular items.
b. In addition to organic food regulations, all other regulations notified under this FSSAI Act must be followed.
c. Recertification is not required for imports made under bilateral or multilateral agreements executed on the basis of the Indian National Organic Production Program and similar organic food standards of the exporting countries. This is subject to compliance with their respective rules applicable to them. And all such imports must be accompanied by a transaction certificate issued by an accreditation body subject to such agreements.
Interesting facts about Organic Food
• Sikkim has been declared as the India’s first fully organic state
• Total area under Organic certification is 5.71 million hectares
• India ranks first in terms of number of Organic producers
• India ranks 9th in area under Organic agriculture
• India exports around 1.35 million MTs of certified organic foods