Navigating Food Certifications To Understand Food Safety

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By Usa Express Daily

With growing awareness about clean eating habits and healthy lifestyle practices, more consumers are now conscious of their dietary choices. While consumers today have many options to choose from, often the number of products available makes it difficult for them to pick one. For instance, when you browse an online e-commerce store or simply stroll through the aisles of a grocery store, you’ll often come across an extensive array of organic, naturally made, no-preservative handmade products, each with fancy-designed labels and certifications. While this offers an array of options to choose from, consumers are often left confused by the terms brandished on the products.
Also Read: The Hidden Truths Of Food Labels: What You Need To Know

However, the key to resolving such confusion is to find out – “What do these labels indicate, and how can one interpret them to make learned choices?” Typically, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is responsible for regulating food labelling and certification and developing guidelines that provide a standardized framework for labelling and ensuring quality and food safety in India. 

Important Information That You Can Find On Indian Food Labels- 

The Food Authority mandates that food labels must mention the name and address of the manufacturer, a list of ingredients in decreasing order of percentage, nutritional information, and allergen information. Additionally, the label must also feature the date of manufacture and expiry, net quantity, FSSAI logo and license lumber, and storage Instructions.
Also Read: Placing Food’s Nutrition Label In Front Of The Package May Help Promote Healthy Eating – Study

It is important to check food labels.
Photo Credit: iStock

Common Food Certifications and Labels You Need To Know About- 

FSSAI’s “Organic” Logo – Jaivik Bharat 

The unified logo serves to distinguish organic products from non-organic ones and is accompanied by the tagline “Jaivik Bharat” at the bottom. The logo can only be found on products that are certified by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India or FSSAI

It indicates that the product is certified organic, meaning it is produced without using any synthetic pesticides, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), or artificial additives, marking them suitable for those who wish to consume authentic organic produce.  

Agriculture Marketing or AGMARK 

This certification mark is employed on agricultural products in India to ensure that they conform to the approved standards of the Directorate of Marketing and Inspection – an agency of the Government of India. When browsing through e-commerce grocery stores or shopping aisles one can easily find them on the labels of commodities like cereals, pulses, and edible oils. The AGMARK serves as a testimony of safe, quality, and unadulterated products.  

Halal and Kosher 

They signify that the food product conforms to dietary laws in Islam and Judaism, respectively. It confirms that the Kosher meat has been butchered and soaked before cooking. On the other hand, the Halal mark indicates the meat has been butchered in a specific way that conforms to Islamic practices. Such certifications put consumers at ease and help them pick products that suit their customs and religious beliefs. 

Indian Standards Mark or ISI Mark 

Ensures that the product meets the Indian Standards by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), the national standards body of India, in terms of quality and performance. This mark confirms that the food products have been certified and thoroughly tested as per the accepted standards. Products that bear the ISI Mark enjoy a competitive edge over their competitors, as the same vouches for its quality and safety standards to the clients. 

Vegan Certification 

Indicates that the product does not contain any animal-derived ingredients, appealing to consumers who follow a vegan lifestyle. To elaborate, the certifications confirm that products do not contain ingredients such as meat, fowl, fish, or any animal products such as silk or even dyes from insects. It also indicates that the final product was not tested on animals and that no GMO was used for the product. 

Gluten-Free Certification 

The voluntary program Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO) developed by the Gluten Intolerance Group is the sole entity offering gluten-free certification schemes. It assures that the product is safe for individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities, and helps make a safer choice. 

Food labels serve a vital function by providing essential details to consumers. Simultaneously, different certifications provide extra guarantees regarding the calibre, safety, and moral aspects of the food we buy. Together, they enable individuals to opt for more wholesome, secure, and ethically mindful dietary options. 

About the author: Satyajit Hange is the Co-Founder and Farmer at Two Brother Organic Farm 

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