South Asia radius

Draft organic regulations sent for public consultation

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock
© iStock

Related tags: Sustainable agriculture, Food

Food regulator FSSAI has come out with a draft regulation to ensure that products advertised as organic actually conform to organic standards.

Under the terms of the proposal, organic foods must comply with the National Programme for Organic Production, under a scheme run by the Indian agriculture ministry.

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​,” the FSSAI said in a statement.

The regulator is now seeking public comments concerning the proposal, which has been drafted at a time when demand for organic food products has been growing in an increasingly health-conscious country.

Currently, consumers are unable check the authenticity of organic foods due to lack of a regulatory framework, the FSSAI said.

The draft regulation on organic food is aimed at overcoming this problem and ensuring that what is sold as organic food is really organic​,” it added.

Organic foods sold directly by the producer to the consumer are exempt under the draft, though this exemption does not apply to processed products.

India produced 1.35m tonnes of organic foods last year and ranks fifteenth in the world in terms of organic land use.

More from South Asia…

Indian e-commerce products to carry MRP labelling from 2018

E-commerce products will now have to carry mandatory retail prices and other essential information from next year.

MRP

According to new labelling rules from the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, amendments to the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules 2011 have been passed to regulate pre-packaged commodities, including food and nutrition products.

"Products on e-commerce platforms to display declarations required under the amended rules​," an official statement said. 

Consumer minister Ram Vilas Paswan said that the rules had been amended to balance consumer protection with ease of doing business. 

The amended rules also prohibit dual MRPs on products, saying that "no person shall declare different MRPs on an identical pre-packaged commodity, unless allowed under any law​". 

The rules add: ”Goods displayed by the seller on e-commerce platform should contain declarations required under the rules, like name and address of the manufacturer, packer and importer, name of the commodities sourced by the institution for their own use​.”

The provisions regarding food product declarations have been harmonised with labelling regulations under the Food Safety & Standards Act, 2006.

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