Launched by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the new online database (www.jaivikbharat.fssai.gov.in) helps consumers to verify the authenticity of organic foods and allows them to access all the information about the food product’s maker, the certification system used for the organic labelling and the availability of the products.
The new regulations recognise two existing certification systems by the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) and the Participatory Guarantee System for India (PGS-India). Until now, there were two separate logos for these two systems, which was also confusing for some people.
“The new ‘Jaivik Bharat’ logo and new standards will build consumer confidence in organic foods, and will accelerate the growth of trade and commerce in organic foods both locally and in export,” said Shri Pawan Agarwal, Chief Executive of FSSAI.
The FSSAI was given the authority to combine the previous systems and to regulate the certification of organic food in India.
The work on the new regulations began about a year ago. Extensive consultation was undertaken with various groups of people involved in the process of organic certification, including related ministries and agencies, NGOs and farmer organisations.
One of India's industry pioneers Raj Saleem, founder at CEO of Sresta, said there had been a change in mindset from officials when it came to organic.
They went from discouraging organic production because of fears it would hit yields, to now accepting it can contribute to sustainable production.
“This has been a huge journey. Today the central government and many state governments even provide financial incentives for organic farming," he said.
The firm, which sells organic ingredients and finished products under the 24 Mantra brand, works with 45,000 farmers cultivating 225,000 acres in 11 provinces.
“And our goal is to expand this circle of sustainability by reaching 500,000 acres under organic farming by 2020,” he said.