The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is looking at ramping up testing infrastructure for organic products in the country. In an order, the FSSAI has directed all notified laboratories to take steps to strengthen their testing infrastructure for the same. It has also asked them to get recognition from the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) for testing organic products.

This comes after the Centre has decided to promote organic products in the country.

FSSAI has directed these labs to review their current capabilities and take necessary measures to enhance the infrastructure and scope of testing for organic products. “It has been decided by the government to promote organic products in India by encouraging and strengthening cooperative societies. The success of this depends on the reliable testing to ensure their authenticity of the organic products. Therefore, all food testing laboratories need to optimise their facilities and procedures to handle organic testing efficiently and accurately,” FSSAI said in its order.

Application to APEDA

“All the FSSAI-notified laboratories are directed to make an application to APEDA for recognition of the laboratory for testing organic products,” the order added. The FSSAI has also asked these laboratories to apply to the National Referral Laboratory of APEDA for participation in proficiency testing as a prerequisite to qualify for pre-export testing of organic products.

In January, the Cabinet gave its nod to set up and promote a national level cooperative society for organic products under the Multi State Cooperative Societies (MSCS) Act, 2002. The cooperative society will manage various activities related to organic sector by providing certified and authentic organic products, in a bid to unlock demand and consumption potential of organic products in domestic as well as in global markets.

The society is also tasked with managing entire supply chain of organic products produced by co-operatives and related entities through member cooperatives.

The Food Authority notifies food laboratories and research institutions accredited by National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories or any other accreditation agency for the purposes of carrying out analysis of samples by the food analysts.

 As of July, 2022, FSSAI had recognised or notified 224 food testing laboratories. This includes 53 state government laboratories, 145 private laboratories and 26 other government laboratories for primary testing and 20 laboratories for testing referral food samples.