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FSSAI Guidelines for Organic Foods

FSSAI Guidelines for Organic Foods

Food safety is a serious public health concern for a long time in our country. Adulteration and food scandals are continually plaguing India for more than a decade. The crisis of food safety and health needs to be regulated and controlled by the government. This will only be possible with a clear and consistent food regulatory policy, and their strict implementation. This article describes the FSSAI Guidelines for Organic Foods

In this article we have described about FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India[1]) Guidelines for Organic Foods.

What are Organic Foods?

Organic foods are products of holistic agricultural practices that focus on bio diversity, soil health, chemical free inputs etc. with an environmentally and socially responsible approach. Organic foods are produced as per the standards of organic production.

Which legislation regulates Organic food?

FSSAI has the mandate to regulate manufacture, sell or import or distribute organic foods in accordance to the provisions under Section 22 of the FSS Act 2006.

Why FSSAI License required for Organic foods?

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is an autonomous body established in 2011 under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India. The food regulator, FSSAI, is a larger unified certification covering several older laws under it like Food Adulteration Act 1954, Vegetable Oil Products Order 1947, Fruit Products Order 1955, Meat Products Order 1973, and Milk Products Order 1992. So, if you are involved in the business of manufacturing, storage, distribution, sale, and import of food, you need to apply for FSSAI Registration.

The Role of FSSAI

FSSAI is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the regulation and supervision of food safety and food standards. The FSSAI license also covers the quality, manufacture, packaging, safety, and sale of all food. This is all to ensure the health and safety of the people consuming these food products. This also ensures a reduction in the cases of food adulteration or poor quality.

Mandatory “Mark” Certifications Related to the Food Industry in India

Some of the mandatory “mark” certifications in India for various products are:

  • FPO – for processed food products
  • AGMARK – for agricultural produce
  • ECOMARK certification – for environmentally preferable consumer products
  • India Organic – for organically farmed food
  • Eco-Label – for eco-friendly products
  • Ayush Mark – for herbal products

FSSAI Regulation for Organic Foods

Organic foods are regulated by the Food Safety and Standards (Organic Foods) Regulations 2017. The regulation focuses on organic foods to ensure safety across the value chain through proper certification of such products. If you are selling organic food in India then it’s mandatory to apply for food license within the specified time frame.

Residual limits of insecticides and limits for other contaminants in organic foods

In case of residues of insecticides, limits are 5% of the maximum limits specified or the Level of Quantification whichever is higher for various foods provided in Food and Safety Standards (contaminants, toxins, and residues) Regulations 2011.

Limits for other contaminants in organic foods should comply to the maximum limit as specified for food under FSS (Contaminants, Toxins and Residues) Regulations 2011.

Some light on Organic Foods

With the increasing consumer awareness about health and the increasing levels of pesticides in food, more and more people are willing to procure organic food. While a little expensive, there is also no assurance of the quality of organic foods.

“Organic” food includes agricultural products like fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products, and meat, which are:

  • grown without the use of any chemicals
  • encourages soil and water conservation
  • is processed without additives

Some of the popular organic food items are organic tea, organic wine, organic coffee, organic beef, organic meat, organic eggs, organic honey, organic milk, organic vegetables, organic rice, organic fruits, organic corn, organic essential oils, organic herbs, organic olive oil, and organic coconut oil.

Organic Food Vs Inorganic Food

It is a common belief that ‘Organic Food’ is healthier than ‘Inorganic Food.’ With increasing health problems arising due to the excess quantity of pesticides and other chemicals in foods, the government, as well as the public, is trying to shift from inorganic to organic foods for safeguarding life.

New research point towards the fact that organic cereals, fruit, and vegetables have more antioxidants or polyphenolics when compared with the produce grown inorganically. There is a lower incidence of detectable pesticide residue in organic foods as compared to inorganic foods where it is four times higher. Organic crops also have lower concentrations of cadmium and nitrogen, excess levels of which are hazardous to one’s health.

Forecast regarding the potential market for organic food in India

The TechSci Research recently published a report by research on the potential market for organic food in India. The report was published under the heading “India Organic Food Market By Product Type, Competition Forecast, and Opportunities, 2011 – 2021”.

As per this report, the organic food market in the country is expected to grow by 25 percent more CAGR during 2016–2021, because of the changing patterns of food consumption and increasing cases of contamination of farm produce with chemical fertilizers and pesticides, higher investments in an organic food market, and increasing use of biofertilizers. Organic pulses and food grains dominate the Indian organic food market.

FSSAI proposition on Organic Food Labelling and Certification

As per the latest proposition, no person shall indulge in manufacturing, packing, selling, offering for sale, marketing or otherwise distributing or importing any organic foods unless they ensure compliance with the stipulations laid down by these regulations. Also, any food sold as ‘Organic Food’ shall comply with any one of these:

  • NPOP (National Program for Organic Production)
  • PGS-India (Participatory Guarantee Systems)
  • Any other standards or system as notified by the Food Authority from time to time

FSSAI Regulations for Packaging and Labelling

As per the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011, the food articles being a packaged need to be well-labelled. The label must have the following information:

  • The name of the food
  • List of ingredients
  • Nutritional information
  • Declaration regarding food additives
  • Declaration regarding vegetarian or non-vegetarian
  • Name and complete address of the packer or manufacturer
  • Net quantity
  • Tractability details like Lot No. /Code No. /Batch No.
  • Date of manufacture or packing
  • Country of origin for imported food
  • Best Before and Use by Date
  • Instructions for use

Labelling on the package of the organic food should convey complete and accurate information on the organic status of the product. Organic food are required to comply with the packaging and labelling requirement under FSS (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011 and FSS (Packaging) Regulation of 2018 in addition to the labelling requirement under the applicable systems- NPOP or PGS India. 

FSSAI on the Imports and Reciprocity Policy

With respect to the import of organic food products to India, it was proposed that re-certification will not be required in cases where multilateral or bilateral agreement is provided depending on the uniformity of standards between the Organic Standards of the respective exporting countries and National Programmer for Organic Production. They must comply with the Rules & Regulation and provision of the Act. All organic food consignments must be accompanied by a Transaction certificate issued by an Accredited Certification Body.

FSSAI and APEDA on Export

The FSSAI is working on new norms for organic food. In the meantime, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) will certify foods meant for export. Thus, exporters will need APEDA’s approval, but in the absence of norms from FSSAI, APEDA’s certificate would help organic food enter the foreign territory.


These FSSAI guidelines for Organic foods must be adhered to by all food business operators dealing in organic foods otherwise penalties may be charged. We all look forward with hope for the successful implementation of FSSAI regulations towards the quality and safety of food.


Read our article:What is the Procedure for Getting an FSSAI License Number?

Ashish M. Shaji

Ashish M. Shaji has done his graduation in law (BA. LLB) from CCS University. He has keen interests in doing extensive research and writing on legal subjects especially on corporate law. He is a creative thinker and has a great interest in exploring legal subjects.

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