The Food Safety and Standards (Organic Foods) Regulations, 2017 are based on the standards of National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) and Participatory Guarantee System (PGS-India).

All foods offered or promoted for sale as ‘Organic Food’ to comply with any of the requirements of:

  • National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP)
  • Participatory Guarantee System for India (PGS-India).
  • Traceability shall be established up to the producer level as applicable under system mentioned above.
  • Direct sales of Organic Food by the small original producer or producer organisation to the end consumer exempt from verification of compliance.
  • All the Organic Food shall comply to the Labeling requirements as per Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labeling) Organic Food’ Regulations, 2011 along with NPOP or PGS India requirements.
  • Organic Food Label to have a certification mark of PGS-India or NPOP along with FSSAI Logo with License No.
  • Organic Foods to comply with Product standards and limits of Contaminants as the prescribed in Food Safety and Standards Regulations.
  • Retailers to display organic foods distinguishable from conventional foods.
  • Provision for bilateral or multilateral equivalence agreements based on NPOP for imports.

Which systems of certification are recognized in the Food Safety and Standards (Organic Foods) Regulations, 2017 ?

As mentioned above, the Food Safety and Standards (Organic Foods) Regulations, 2017 recognises the already established two systems of certification:

  • National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) implemented by Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) implemented by Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare and National.
  • Jaivik Bharat - The Jaivik Bharat logo for Organic Food is an unified identity mark to distinguish organic products from non-organic ones.

Which food products can be labelled as ‘Organic ‘?

  • Under NPOP system:

    In case of single ingredient product where all requirements been met as per the specified standards can be labelled as ‘Organic’.

    In case of multi ingredient product where min. 95% of ingredients are of certified origin, can be labelled as ‘Certified Organic’.

  • Under PGS-India system:

    In case of single ingredient product where all requirements have been met, may be labelled as ‘PGS- Organic’.

    In case of multi ingredient product where min. 95% of ingredients are organic, it may be labelled as ‘PGS- Organic’.

Who is responsible for certifying Organic Food?

The Accredited Certification Bodies in case of NPOP and Local Group in case of PGS-India are responsible for certifying the Organic Food.

Who is exempted from the need of verification of compliance?

Organic food which is marketed through direct sales to the end consumer by the small original producer or producer organisation is exempted from the provisions of the certification. Small original producer or producer organisation is the one whose annual turnover is not exceeding Rs 12 Lakhs per annum.

Other Legislations:

Besides Food Safety parameters, the organic foods should comply with the requirements of various quality parameters prescribed under the Food Safety and Standards (Food Product Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011.

Rules w.r.t to Imported Organic Food

Organic Food is not required to be re-certified on import to India if there is bilateral or multilateral agreement based on the equivalence of standards as per National Programme for Organic Production. All organic food consignments to be accompanied by a Transaction Certificate issued by an Accredited Certification Body.

Organic Food Testing Requirement

Organic foods are one of the fastest growing sectors of the food industry today. Certified organic foods are tested for authenticity before they receive certification.

A certification is a guarantee that the organic foods have been produced and processed without the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers and they do not contain any contaminants.

Services of organic food testing laboratories are often used to analyze organic foods for their nutrition content and the accrued health benefits they might claim. Food testing assures consumers that the products they are purchasing, often at premium prices, are authentically organic.

A number of organic food testing parameters are taken into account during these testing procedures. When you get the tests done through accredited organic food testing laboratories, you can remain stress-free about the results and the further operations.

In short, we can say that organic product testing is required to ensure that the product delivers what it claims to, and it is safe for consumption. These tests can not only help you obtain certification of compliance with official regulations, but it also makes your brand trustworthy for the customers. Thus, being an organic product producer or distributor, you must opt for organic food testing for all your products.

Regulation and certification requirement

Food testing of organic products also ensures that organic foods are within the ambit of regulatory compliance. FSSAI has recently operationalized the Food Safety and Standards (Organic Foods) Regulation, 2017 so that standards and food safety are maintained.

Food testing laboratories provide food testing services to ensure that organic food production, as well as the processed products, are free of chemical and microbial contaminants.

Before certifying the foods the Certifying Authorities like NPOP and PGS-India will also need analysis report from organic food testing labs, which state that the foods contain no residues of pesticides, heavy metals, antibiotics, etc.

Microbial food testing

Organic foods like any other foods can be subject to microbial contamination like E. coli O157: H7, salmonella Listeria and Listeria monocytogenes. Microbial food testing for the presence of these pathogens is a food safety requirement for organic foods.

Allergen testing

Organic foods are susceptible to allergens, which can enter these foods through cross-contamination. Some of these organic foods are also used as ingredients in food products like peanuts, wheat, milk, soy, etc. so processed organic foods will require food testing to ensure they are free of allergens.

Mycotoxin testing

Regular laboratory testing for mycotoxins in organic foods is equally important as crops can be contaminated with mycotoxins during growth cycle or because of poor storage after harvesting due to damp or moisture.

The organic food testing equipment checks the product thoroughly to ensure that it did not get contaminated with mycotoxins at any stage and is safe to be consumed.

Pesticide residue testing

The FSSAI has fixed the maximum limits of residues of insecticides/pesticides in organic foods. These are 5% of the maximum limits prescribed or Level of Quantification (LoQ) whichever, is higher.

Independent testing laboratories offer testing services for pesticide residues in plant tissues. They also provide analysis certificates that indicate whether residues were detected, if they contained trace levels of residues or if residues are detected at or above LoQ they provide the value as ppm.

Antibiotics testing

Antibiotic residues like ractopamine have become a global problem as the antibiotic residues in food are consumed and they could make people resistant to those antibiotics.

Laboratory testing of organic foods for antibiotic residues is important for animal origin organic products like chicken, fish, shellfish, fish, meat, dairy products, and honey

Heavy metal testing

Most food labs test organic foods for suspected chemicals which could be present in food from the environment like water and soil. Food testing labs must be equipped for detection of heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, copper, zinc, etc. that are present even in very low or trace levels.

With proper organic food testing equipment, these can be detected up to those small levels to ensure that the product has all of them only under the specified limits.

Organic Food Testing at Our Lab

Our state-of-the-art testing laboratories employ scientists and technicians that use the latest analytical technologies to provide accurate analysis. Our lab is accredited by NABL and approved by EIC, BIS and authorized by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). We routinely conduct organic food testing for cereal crops, nuts, teas, spices, fruits, herbs and dairy products, meats, and honey.

You will find solutions to all your organic food testing requirements at our lab. As we look into all the crucial organic food testing parameters, our testing is all you need to get your food products certified and ready for the market. Our experts will further provide you with the best procedures and analysis according to your individual testing requirements.

Most of us are raised in the city, so the closest organic farming concept we are exposed to are the terrace gardens and the beautiful potted plants in our balcony that our mothers are so proud of and why shouldn’t they be.

The little herb treasures that they so fondly nourish and sustain without effective pesticides are pure organic farming on the minuscule level. That is what organic farming is all about, isn’t it? No pesticides and no quick fix remedies.

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