You have organic shops dime a dozen even in small towns, but there has been no guarantee on the quality of products they sell. The Kerala Commissionerate of Food Safety has decided to step up measures to ensure quality organic produce by tightening norms including fixing logos on them.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With fake organic products flooding the markets across the state, the Kerala Commissionerate of Food Safety (KCFS) has decided to step up measures to ensure quality organic produce for the consumers. Currently, unorganised players without any mandatory certification are selling organic products at exorbitant rates as the state has failed to regulate them.
To end the malpractices in the sector, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has mandated organic logo in products being sold across the nation from April 1, 2019.
To begin with, the state authorities are planning to give organic certification for rice and pepper being produced in Palakkad and Idukki respectively by next month.
According to officials, there are around 700 hectares of pepper cultivation in Idukki and over 800 hectares of paddy cultivation in Palakkad.
As part of its effort to certify organic produce, the state food safety commissionerate has tied up with the agriculture department to ensure organic food products through the ‘farm to plate’ concept by promoting good farming practices. The commissionerate would provide a ‘wrapper’ which would be covered over the products showing the FSSAI licence and farmers’ unique ID for facilitating the consumers to pick the most authentic organic product.
“We get complaints regarding the fake organic products being sold in the state. Organic branding by food safety would help put an end to the cheating in the market. Food safety officials and agriculture department officials will work hand-in-hand in each district to make the initiative a success,” a food safety official said.
Currently, there are over 50,000 hectares of farmlands in the state. As part of the centrally-sponsored scheme Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY), the agriculture department has launched good agricultural practices in 12,000 hectares of farmland in the state.
An official of the agriculture department said that the scheme was in phase II. “We launched the scheme a year back and the transition time of the farmland is three years. We are in the second year and our farmers are very well aware of the ill-effect of pesticides. We have formed clusters among the farmers and selected a lead resource person to represent each cluster. Each cluster covers around 20 hectares of farmland,” said the official.
“The farmers engaged in organic farming should get the product tested at an empanelled lab under the agriculture department to get the necessary registration from the food safety,” the official added.
The agriculture department has already collected samples from around 300 clusters to get them tested at accredited labs under the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).
“We collect the samples and send them for scrutiny at the APEDA-accredited lab in Mumbai. There are around 16 such labs in the country which tests the product to check if it’s of export quality,” said the official....