Organic food has undeniably become the catchphrase of the health world. More people are converting to the organic diet, and it is a good time for the organic market. However, an increase in demand may also lead to the rise of conventional food masquerading as organic food, under the hand of clever marketers. Thus, it is important to check the truth behind statements such as “100% organic”, and “certified organic product”. Here are some facts to help you know whether to trust the labelling or not:
- Organic food, unlike ‘natural’ or any other kind of food, is governed by a third body that sets strict standards and criteria. Some of these specify that the food should be produced without genetic engineering, sewage sludge, ionizing radiation, substances such as added colours and flavours, artificial hormones, antibiotics, etc.
- Do not confuse ‘natural’ with ‘organic’. Natural food simply means that natural substances have gone into its production. It does not guarantee that harmful chemicals have not been used.
- In India, the National Programme for Organic Production was implemented as an accreditation programme for certification bodies and for setting standards for organic production. Their standards have been recognised by the European Commission and the USDA as equivalent to their country standards. Thus, one can be certain that food labelled ‘organic’ in India is up to the standards of the strict regulation followed in developed countries. This means that the product has at least 95% organic content.
- The Food and Safety Standards (Organic Foods) Regulations are created based on the standards set by the NPOP or the PGS (Participatory Guarantee System) India. There are 28 accredited certification bodies under NPOP, and 562 regional councils under PGS-India. Organic foods in India can be certified under either system, by any of these bodies.
- Here’s an elaborate list of substances that are banned in the production of organic food:
- Synthetic pesticides and fertilisers
- Sewage sludge
- Genetically engineered organisms
- Synthetic growth hormones
- Petroleum-based fertilisers
- Artificial flavours
- Added colours
Food labels are here to stay, and to be taken seriously! It might take a few extra minutes to check the labels during your weekly supermarket visit, but it is all worth it in the end. Even better – find a certified organic store in your vicinity, or an online outlet, so that you can get all your produce at one place. 24 Mantra is one such website where you will get 100% certified organic products, grown with the utmost care and enriched with expert knowledge in the field. You can visit the website here: https://www.24mantra.com/