What is Organic

by Sunita Chahar on Oct 16, 2020

What is Organic

What is “Organic food”?

“Organic food” is food grown under a system of agriculture without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides with an environmentally and socially responsible approach.

What is Organic Farming?

As per the definition of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) study team on organic farming “organic farming is a system which avoids or largely excludes the use of synthetic inputs (such as fertilizers, pesticides, hormones, feed additives etc) and to the maximum extent feasible rely upon crop rotations, crop residues, animal manures, off-farm organic waste, mineral grade rock additives and biological system of nutrient mobilization and plant protection”.

This is a method of farming that works at grass root level preserving the reproductive and regenerative capacity of the soil, good plant nutrition, and sound soil management, produces nutritious food rich in vitality which has resistance to diseases.

What is Organic Certification?

Organic certification is a certification process for producers of organic food and other organic agricultural products. In general, any business directly involved in food production can be certified, including seed suppliers, farmers, food processors, retailers, and restaurants.

Requirements vary from country to country, and generally involve a set of production standards for growing, storage, processing, packaging and shipping that include:

  • avoidance of synthetic chemical inputs (e.g. fertilizer, pesticides, antibiotics, food), genetically modified organisms, irradiation, and the use of sewage sludge.
  • use of farmland that has been free from prohibited chemical inputs for a number of years (often, three or more);
  • for livestock, adhering to specific requirements for feed, housing, and breeding.
  • 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.

What does the “Organic” label mean?

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) sets, defines, and regulates the use and meaning of “Organic” on food labels. It is the term used to describe raw or processed agricultural products and ingredients that have been (a) organically grown (farmed) and (b) handled in compliance with the standards of April 2001, which have been fully enforced since October 2002. These standards prohibit the use of:

  • Most synthetic fertilizers and pesticides
  • Sewer sludge fertilizers
  • Genetic engineering
  • Growth hormones
  • Irradiation
  • Antibiotics
  • Artificial ingredients
  • Many synthetic additives

The Government of India has defined & regulates the use of “India Organic” logo as per National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) standards of India.

The national programme involves the accreditation programme for Certification Bodies, standards for organic production, promotion of organic farming etc. 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. With these recognitions, Indian organic products duly certified by the accredited Certification Bodies of India are accepted by the importing countries.

Why did we need regulation of organic foods?

The development of organic standards was designed to provide consumers with a food labelling process that they could trust to reflect high-quality standards in food production.

What is USDA certification?

Certification is the process by which the consumer is assured that a product marketed as “organic” is in compliance with production and handling requirements set forth in USDA regulations.

All producers of organic food, livestock, and fibre crops as well as handlers or organic products must be certified (except growers who gross less than $5000 and retailers).

Growers and handlers submit an Organic Farm Plan or an Organic Handling Plan to a USDA accredited certifying agent detailing their growing and handling methods.

On-site inspections are conducted by certifying agents to verify submitted plans. Methods and materials used in production must meet standards set in the new regulations. Clear documentation of methods and materials must be kept. There must be a paper trail tracing a product back to its production site, enabling verification of production methods and materials.

Certification is the process by which the consumer is assured that a product marketed as “organic” is in compliance with production and handling requirements set forth in USDA regulations.

What is India Organic certification?

A logo – “India Organic” is granted on the basis of compliance with the National Standards for Organic Production (NSOP). Communicating the genuineness as well as the origin of the product, this logo is owned by the Government of India. Only such exporters, manufacturers, and processors whose products are duly certified by the accredited inspection and certification agencies, will be granted the license to use of the logo which would be governed by a set of regulations.


What is Jaivik Bharat ?

Just like green & red dots on products to signify if they are vegetarian or non-vegetarian, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) in December 2017, introduced the Jaivik Bharat logo to help customers identify authentic organic food.

Everyday, the Indian market is flooded with new organic products, which appear to be healthy & different from normal products. The variety of choices and claims made by each of these products, confuse & worry about the authenticity of their claims and genuineness these products.

Considering the scenario, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has introduced the Jaivik Bharat logo to help customers identify authentic organic food. Any product that has the Jaivik Bharat logo would have to meet specific standards of organic farming.

The unified logo is an identity mark to distinguish organic products from non-organic ones supported with the tagline “Jaivik Bharat” at the bottom, which signifies Organic Food from India. Effectively intertwining all the elements of environment, the logo communicates adherence to the National Organic Standards.