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India’s apex regulator issues draft to regulate stds for organic foods
Tuesday, 04 April, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Ashwani Maindola, New Delhi
The Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the country’s apex food regulator, has issued a draft to regulate standards for organic foods and asked the stakeholders to submit their objections and suggestions within 30 days.
The regulations, called Food Safety and Standards (Organic Foods) Regulations, 2017, restricts food business operators (FBOs) from manufacturing, packing, selling, offering to sell, marketing, importing or distributing any organic food unless they comply with the requirements laid down by the apex food regulator.
The draft also stated that traceability shall be established up to the producer level.
It added that the food authority may establish an appropriate institutional mechanism to implement these regulations and promote authentic organic food in the country.
The draft said, “Any food offered or promoted for sale as organic food shall comply with all the applicable provisions of one of the three certification programmes - the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP), the Participatory Guarantee System for India (PGS-India) and any other system - or standards as may be notified by FSSAI from time to time.
However, it added that organic food that was marketed through direct sales by the original producer organisation to the end consumer was exempt from the need of verification of compliance, while this exemption does not apply to processed organic food products.
The draft said, “Labelling should convey full and accurate information on the organic status of the product, and such products should carry a certification-quality assurance mark of one of the systems in addition to the FSSAI logo. ”
“Organic food should comply with the relevant provisions, as applicable, under the Food Safety and Standards (Food Product Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011, and the Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins and Residues) Regulations, 2011, under the Act and the Rules and regulations made thereunder,” it added.
It said, “The retailers should place the organic product separately in the store while non-compliance of any organic food with the provisions of the regulations would attract penal provisions under the Act, and be liable for action as a false, misleading or deceptive claim.”
It is pertinent to mention here that under the NPOP, the government of India provides an institutional mechanism for implementation of the National Standards for Organic Production 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 as amended from time to time.
And the Standards for Organic Production are any standards recognised by the food authority or the National Standards for Organic Production or Participatory Guarantee System for India, to be followed in cultivation, harvest, production, storage, processing or trading of organic food products and inputs.
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