Organic food: Absence of enforcement aides fakes
Visakhapatnam: Beware, all health aficionados. Next time you go to a local supermarket to buy ‘organic food’, chances are that you may end up buying a fake product. It needs to be certified by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and carry a label from the certifying agencies under the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP).
There have been no checks or raids by the FSSAI to regulate the organic products market. Recently, representatives from the Crop Care Federation of India (CCFI) collected 25 samples of organic products from various parts of the country, particularly, New Delhi and, found, that most of them were not complying with the certification norms. The packets carried the FSSAI symbol, but not the license number, and many did not have the certification number of an authorised laboratory.
The CCFI also found that for the past eight years, the FSSAI had not booked a single violator for wrongly labelling organic products. With the increasing awareness among the public about the ill effects of chemical additives in food products and vegetables, consumers are willing to pay more for organic products. Many stores have cropped up across the state, selling exclusive organic products.
“There are instances where certain products are being loosely sold as organic farm produce. Buyers need to check whether the product, has the certification label by the FSSAI and its license number,” said Bandaru Naresh of Sumaja Ecowellness that markets organic products from farmers’ cooperatives.
With a flood of products claiming to be organic’, those with the genuine article are finding it difficult to get their products tested and certified. The National Project on Organic Farming committee, in its report to Parliament, pointed out that there were only 25 third party laboratories for testing and certifying organic products across the country. In AP, at present there is not even single laboratory that tests the organic products.