Through a notification uploaded on 31 March 2017, The Food Safety & Standards Authority of India has asked for suggestions, views, comments etc. from stakeholders within a period of 30 days on the draft Food Safety and Standards (Organic Foods) Regulation, 2017.
In Chapter 1 FSSAI has defined the terms used in the regulations like
- Organic Foods are food products that have been produced in accordance with specified organic production standards.
- Accreditation Body is an FSSAI recognized body.
- The Accredited Certification Body is an organization duly accredited by an Accreditation Body for certification of organic products and for granting the right to use the certification mark to the FBO on behalf of the Accreditation Body.
- Organic Agriculture means no synthetic external inputs such as chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides and synthetic hormones or Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) have been used in agricultural production
- National Programme for Organic Production is a Government of India programme which provides an institutional mechanism for implementation of the National Standards for Organic Production (NSOP) with a third-party certification control system as notified by the Director General of Foreign Trade under the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992.
- Participatory Guarantee System for India (PGS-India) means a quality assurance initiative for organic production operated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare.
- Standards for Organic Production mean any standards recognized by the Food Authority or the NSOP or PGS-India and to be followed in cultivation or harvest or production or storage or processing or trading of organic food products.
Organic Food Labelling and Certification
No person shall manufacture, pack, sell, offer for sale, market or otherwise distribute or import any organic foods unless they comply with the requirements laid down under these regulations. Any food sold as ‘organic food’ needs to comply with any of these
- Any other system or standards as may be notified by the Food Authority from time to time
Processed organic foods are NOT exempt from verification certificate but organic foods marketed through direct sales by the original producer/producer organization to the end consumer are exempt from the need of verification of compliance.
Labeling shall convey
- full and accurate information on the organic status of the product
- carry a certification/quality assurance mark of one of the systems mentioned above
- carry the FSSAI logo
- Besides these, all organic foods shall comply with the packaging and labeling requirements specified under the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011
- Product must be traceable up to the producer level as applicable. It shall include any other requirements prescribed by the FSSAI to maintain the organic authenticity of the food product.
- Without prejudice to the provision of these regulations, all organic foods must comply with the Food Safety and Standards (Food Product Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011, the Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins, and Residues) Regulations, 2011.
- Any retailer selling organic food either exclusively or as part of their retail merchandise shall display organic food in a manner that distinguishes it from the display of conventional food so that the consumers are not misled.
- Non- compliance of any organic food with the provisions of these regulations shall attract penal provisions under the Act, and be liable for action as a false, misleading or deceptive claim.
CHAPTER III defines the Imports and Reciprocity policy
Organic food imported into India will not require re-certification provided there is a bilateral or multilateral agreement on the basis of equivalence of standards between National Programme for Organic Production and the organic standards of the respective exporting countries. They must also be in compliance with the provision of the Act & the Rules & Regulation.
All organic food consignments must be accompanied by a transaction certificate issued by an Accredited Certification Body covered under the terms of the equivalency agreement.
The Food Authority may establish an appropriate institutional mechanism to implement these regulations and promote authentic organic food in the country.