Food testing and analysis of organic foods has become important now as FSSAI has recently operationalized the Food Safety and Standards (Organic Foods) Regulation, 2017. There was a need to have a regulation that would establish standards for the production, manufacture and sale of organic foods in India especially as they are gaining in popularity with consumers. Organic is considered to be a labelling term which indicates that the food product or agricultural produce has been produced in accordance with specified standards for organic food production.
Just like other foods, organic foods also need to be tested in recognised testing labs meant for organic food testing. Organic food testing laboratories ensure that organic food products are free of contaminants, toxins and residues as per regulatory requirement. The FSSAI has laid down the standards for maximum limits of residues of insecticides. These are to be 5% of the maximum limits prescribed or Level of Quantification (LoQ) whichever, is higher. Before certifying the foods the Certifying Authorities like NPOP and PGS-India will also need analysis report from organic food testing labs.Food testing laboratories generally provide analysis certificates that indicate
- Residue not detected
- “Trace” or below quantifiable level if some residue is detected
- PPM if residue is detected at or above the LoQ
Organic food is required to be free of synthetic chemicals, pesticides and fertilizers. Organic food testing helps in detecting the presence of these pesticides and fertilizers. This way the organic integrity of organic food products is maintained and consumers trust in the organic food product is retained.Along with growth in consumer demand for organic foods the organic food industry is also on the rise and organic food testing helps to add brand value to products. Consumers are also assured they are consuming authentic organic products. .
Importers of organic foods need to get the imported organic food products also tested in food testing labs so that they are in compliance with the National Programme for Organic Foods (NPOP). Organic foods have to be certified as Organic and so they need to be free of pesticides and other environmental contaminants, hormones, antibiotics and veterinary drugs, if they are animal based, like organic honey. Only a recognised organic food testing laboratory is qualified to detect these substances and to certify that the products as free of these residues and contaminants.
So you see, reliable and accurate food testing and analysis plays an important role in ensuring that the organic food is a quality product. Testing labs have highly qualified scientists and instrumentation to provide all the types of organic food testing and analysis required by the Certifying Authorities. Organic food testing labs have the experience to use the right methodology so as to arrive at accurate results. This is the reason organic food farmers, processors and importers need to get their organic foods regularly tested in food testing labs. This will ensure that the products are also in compliance with the Organic Food Regulations.