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FSSAI draft regulation mandates FBOs’ compliance with NPOP provisions

6,July, 2017

 

Thursday, 06 July, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]

Ashwani Maindola, New Delhi

To ensure the safety of food products labelled as organic, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has notified a draft regulation making it mandatory for food business operators (FBOs) to comply with the provisions of the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP), the Participatory Guarantee System for India (PGS-India) and any other system or standards notified by the apex food regulator.
“The draft regulation also mandates that such foods do not only convey full and accurate information on the organic status of the product, but also carry a certification mark or a quality assurance mark given by any of the notified  certification bodies,” said FSSAI in a statement.
As per the draft Food Safety and Standards (Organic Foods) Regulations, 2017, any food offered for sale as organic food should comply with the provisions laid down under either the NPOP (administered by the government of India) or the  Participatory Guarantee System for India (PGS-India), operated by the ministry of agriculture and farmers’ welfare or any other system or standards that may be notified by the regulator from time to time.
While the draft ha exempted organic food marketed through direct sale by the original producer or producer organisation to the end consumer from verification compliance, this exemption does not apply to processed organic products.   
According to FSSAI, organic food products are either those grown under a system of agriculture without the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides or made from organically-produced raw materials.
“Currently, a number of food products are being marketed as organic, but in the absence of a regulatory framework to ensure their safety and organic status, consumers have no way of checking their authenticity,” said the regulator.
“The draft regulation on organic food is aimed at overcoming this problem and ensuring that what is sold as organic food is really organic,” stated FSSAI.
Further, the draft said that traceability shall be established upto the producer level as applicable under the systems mentioned in NPOP and PGS-India, and shall include any other requirements prescribed by the regulator to maintain the organic integrity of the food product.
The notification was put up on FSSAI’s website, inviting the public and stakeholders’ comments within 30 days.  
It is pertinent to mention here that the Agricultural and Processed Food Products’ Export Development Authority (APEDA) also issued notices recently for draft standards for organic food under NPOP.
The standards were about production that deals with methodology, organic management plans duly certified by the accredited certification Body, management of the production site and sanitation, amongst others, vis-à-vis plant-based foods.
India’s rank in terms of the world’s organic agricultural land was 15th,with the production of 1.35 million metric tonne (in 2015-16) of certified organic products, which includes all varieties of food products, namely sugarcane, oilseeds, cereals and millets, pulses, medicinal plants, tea, fruits, spices, dry fruits, vegetables, coffee, etc.

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