Organic farmers, farmer markets, and organizations that sell organic products run smoothly only because of a certain level of trust and authenticity that is attached to such foods. Without it, organic products wouldn’t sell, and you wouldn’t bother buying it from stores near you.
What people don’t realize is, there is a certain process involved in obtaining organic food certification. A protocol is set in place, and only if all the checkboxes are ticked will the certified label be given.
But what exactly is organic food certification, and how do government bodies give these labels? This article will venture to cover just that.
The India Organic Certification
The ‘India Organic Certification’ label is given to all organic items after going through a thorough process of validation. The certification ensures that all the raw materials used and the product itself were produced through organic farming means. In order to oversee such certifications, the National Standards for Organic Productions was established in India (in the year 2000).
This ensures that the products are:
Free of pesticides.
Have zero chemical fertilizers.
Have not been farmed via induced hormones.
Once the above needs are met, that is when the trademark, “India Organic Certification’ is given to the organic product while also ensuring that it is compliant with National Standards for Organic Production (NSOP). When a product is given this label, it means that the item is genuine, with its origins accounted for, and lastly the fact that the trademark is retained by the government of India.
The organic products first get tested and later issued by testing centres that have been accredited by the APEDA (Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority), which is the main certifying agency.
How do farmers and organizations get the label?
To get things started, companies and individual farmers need to first book an agent to get the organic food certification. Once that is done, the organization needs to complete the following steps:
Fill in the application form provided to you by the agent.
Your agent will then scrutinize the document and determine whether the organic product is deemed authentic as per the guidelines issued by the government.
The application will then be reviewed for its compliance with the National Standards for Organic Production (NSOP) regulations as well as the standards set by the regulatory authorities.
Your agent will then examine and review the site where the organic products are being grown/farmed.
If everything works according to the agent’s satisfaction, the ‘India Organic Certification’ will be awarded to you.
What About Pricing?
As with any certification body, your organization will have to pay a certain fee to get the desired label. Here’s a look at how prices are calculated when it comes to organic food certification fees.
You will have to pay a certain amount that would be a part of the application fees.
You will then have to pay the authorities a fee during the site inspection.
Then there is a yearly fee that you would have to pay for retaining the certificate.
The complete fee is calculated on the basis of your organic product, its type, the magnitude of production and operation as well as the accredited agency that you have approached for the entire process.
Before farm owners and companies decide to get their organic food certification, they need to keep a few things in mind. For a period of about two to three years, your organic need to be associated and known for its authenticity.
Other considerations include basic soil requirements (it should be free of synthetic chemicals and so on) for several years. The farm must follow basic organic farming methods and standards, and only then can the certification be considered by the authorities.
What About GMOs?
Genetically Modified Organisms (or genetically modified products) are entirely prohibited from being certified as organic food. This means that farmers who produce organic foods cannot, at the same time, grow anything that is GMO based. The prohibition extends to:
GMO feed (the food you give to farm-reared animals)
Because organic products contain no pesticides or harmful chemicals, the certification process is basically a cakewalk for authentic farm owners and organizations. Not only do these products provide ample nutrition and are composed of powerful antioxidants, but it is also amazing to the taste buds.
By opting to buy organic products, you’re responsible for a sustainable environment for ages to come. You also stand to provide better living and lifestyle to farmers by going organic.