What is the issue ?
- Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued regulations making it mandatory for food companies selling organic food to have their products certified.
About the move :
- Food companies selling organic produce need to get their product certified with one of the two authorities — the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) or the Participatory Guarantee System for India (PGSIndia).
- Companies could also get a voluntary logo from the FSSAI that marked the produce as ‘organic.’
- Labelling on the package of organic food shall convey full and accurate information on the organic status of the product
What are organic products ?
- Fruits, vegetables and animal products sourced or grown in an environment free of chemical pesticide, fertilisers, genetically modified organisms and induced hormones.
How can you identify an organic product ?
- Different logos are used to identify food as organic.
- FSSAI had recently introduced 'Jiavik Bharat' logo
How were organic foods certified until now ?
1. Certification under National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP)
- For nearly two decades now, organic farming certication was done through a process of third party certication under the NPOP.
- It was run by the Ministry of Commerce and was used for certifying general exports.
- Nearly 24 agencies were authorised by the NPOP to verify farms, storages and processing units and successful ones got a special ‘India Organic’ logo.
2. Certification under Participatory Guarantee System for India (PGSIndia)
- The PGSIndia programme, in contrast, has been around for only two years and — unlike the topdown approach of the NPOP — involves a peerreview approach.
- Here, farmers play a role in certifying whether the farms in their vicinity adhered to organiccultivation practices.
- This programme was implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture through the National Centre of Organic Farming.
Facts you must know :
- 1.5 million hectares of cultivable land certified under National Programme for Organic Production in 2015-16
- 1.35 million tonnes of certified organic products are produced in India. A fifth of the total produce was exported.
- 5,85,200 farmers were engaged in organic farming in 2015 more than any other country and a quarter of the world
- Only 7% of India's cultivated area is under organic farming