Organic certification is a process certification intended for producers of organic food and other organic agricultural products. In general, any business directly involved in food production can be certified, including seed suppliers, farmers (crop, livestock), food processors, retailers and restaurants. Requirements vary from country to country and generally involve a set of production standards for growing, storage, processing, packaging and shipping that include:
Organic certification addresses a growing worldwide demand for organic food. It is intended to assure quality and prevent fraud. For organic producers, certification identifies suppliers of products approved for use in certified operations. For consumers, "certified organic" serves as a product assurance, similar to "low fat", "100% whole wheat", or "no artificial preservatives". Certification is essentially aimed at regulating and facilitating the sale of organic products to consumers.
India is among the first few developing countries to have developed and launched a credible third party certification system. National Programme on Organic Production (NPOP) launched during 2000 for farm and livestock certification for organic commodities was the first milestone for organic quality assurance system in the country. 30 Accredited certification agencies authorized under the programme are certifying organic producers.
NPOP certification is a system of process certification wherein an independent organization like SSOCA reviews entire production, processing, handling, storage and transport etc to ensure the compliance of organic standards. The process typically includes comprehensive review of cultivation practices including land management, usage of inputs, use of machinery, pest management and post harvest in crops, rearing practices compatible to their natural behaviour, welfare of animals, avoidance of synthetic feed additives and hormones and limited usage of allopathic drugs and antibiotics in animal products and processing and handling through document review and on-site physical inspection. All such certified products bear the certification mark on their packaging to help consumers and other buyers make educated purchasing decisions.