Check Organic Certificate of Authenticity before Buying Food Online
The growing demand for a sustainable environment has given rise to practices that are healthy, protect the environment and have positive effects on living beings. Consuming food grown without pesticides and chemical fertilisers is one such practice. It has resulted in a growing demand for organic food production and consumption.
The worldwide movement on fair-trade practices has prompted the manufacturers and producers of organic food to obtain certificates which authenticate the food being produced and delivered to the consumers in the market. Organic certificates are obtained by any business who is directly involved in producing organic food and this includes certificate obtained by the suppliers of the seeds and growing materials, farmers, restaurants, retailers, and companies that process the food items etc. There are various requirements to obtain the organic certificate pertaining to the production standards such as avoidance of synthetic chemicals in production such as pesticides, fertilizers, genetically modified organisms and use of sewage sludge, keeping a detailed track record of sales and production, and obtaining farmland that has been completely free of chemicals for at least 3 or more years.
Since there are loopholes to every policy and there are ways to adulterate food with fraudulent practices, it is essential to understand the precautions to be taken before buying organic food from any online or physical store.
- Read Labels: Since labels carry vital information about the ingredients, food processing, and other details, it should be a practice not only to read the bold lines but the fine print as well. Also, the law requires the manufacturers to label the food whether they are organic or not clearly. For instance, product label saying organic or certified organic may have different connotations such as 100% organic, processed food consists of less than 95% organic ingredients or the processed food is made of organic ingredients etc. thereby urging consumers to read the labels properly to ensure if they are buying authentic organic food or not.
- Check for Certification: All Indian organic food holds marks called the India Organic which is an indicator that the produce or the food conforms to the National Standards for Organic Products which is implemented by the Government of India under the National Program for Organic Production (NPOP). This certification is recognised in the US as NOP (National Organic Program) which is issued by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service.
- Understand ORGANIC: Organic food is the kind of food that is devoid of any harmful chemicals, synthetic additives while maintaining the health and safety of the environment. Natural Foods and Free-Range foods differ from organic food and here is where most people get confused. Natural foods undergo minimal processing with no guarantee of synthetic additives, and free-range foods are concerned with animal husbandry where animals are let loose instead of confining them to constricted spaces.
- Price Look-Up: PLU Codes are used to identify if the food product is organic or not. In several countries, if the PLU code begins with the digit 9, it is said to be organic that is based on the code classification. In India, it is best to find the price code to identify the organic produce and buy only those which are organically produced.
This wave of organic certification is addressing a growing demand for organic food that not only assures the quality of the food but also promotes fair commerce at the same time. In the initial stages of the organic movement, certificates weren’t required but as more and more consumers are opting for organic produce and consumers are turning towards organic food, the need for certification has grown exponentially. These certificates hold the same importance as the level of food health and safety standards of the non-certified foods available in the market.
As more and more vigilant and health-conscious consumers move towards organic food, the need to adhere to the guidelines, and scrutinise the food authenticity growing in the farms and coming on to the plates of the consumers becomes a priority. Growing organic food isn’t a difficult task but buying authentic organic food from a lot of conventionally produced food available in the market needs awareness.