Organic certification is the only way to guarantee that the product is ‘Organic’. Producers cannot use the term ‘Organic’ legally without certification. To bypass this legal requirement for certification, various alternative approaches, using currently undefined terms like “natural” instead of “organic”, are emerging.
Organic certification is a certification process for producers of organic food and other organic agricultural products. In India, APEDA regulates the certification of organic products as per National Standards for Organic Production. In general, any business directly involved in food production can be certified, including seed suppliers, farmers, food processors, retailers and restaurants. Requirements involve a set of production standards for growing, storage, processing, packaging and shipping that include:
Avoidance of most synthetic chemical inpAvoidance of most synthetic chemical inputs (e.g. fertilizer, pesticides, antibiotics, food additives, etc), genetically modified organisms, irradiation, and the use of sewage sludge; use of farmland that has been free from chemicals for a number of years (often, three or more); keeping detailed written production and sales records (audit trail); maintaining strict physical separation of organic products from non-certified products; undergoing periodic on-site inspections.
Uttarakhand State Organic Certification Agency (USOCA) can issue certification for the national market based on the National Standards for Organic Production, for European market based on Reg. (EEC) No. 2092/91 and recognition of accreditation and certification system by the USDA -NOP. Organization is committed to certify environmentally sound production of food and the preservation of natural resources, improvement of the soil quality and health through organic and sustainable farming practices.
The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) was established by the Government of India under the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority Act passed by the Parliament in December, 1985.
The national programme involves the accreditation programme for certification bodies, norms for organic production, promotion of organic farming. The NPOP standards for production and accreditation system have been recognized by European Commission and Switzerland as equivalent to their country standards. Similarly, USDA has recognized NPOP conformity assessment procedures of accreditation as equivalent to that of US.
The USDA organic certification verifies that all United States Department of Agriculture regulations, requirement and specifications are adhered to. It covers a wide range of detailed monitoring and control measures. It is one of the most comprehensive and demanding certification systems to ensure absolute commitment to Organic Certification qualifications as established by the United States Department of Agriculture.
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Uttarakhand Organic Commodity Board on the guidelines of IFOAM developed a technique that is called ” Internal Control System (ICS)”for certification of farms, processing and handling units of marginal and small farmers (Who can not bear the high certification cost individually) of the state in the form of Group Certification on low cost.
“An ICS is a documented quality assurance system that allows the external certification body to delegate the annual inspection of individual group members to an identified body/unit with the certified operator.”