The world offers us so many alternatives, so naturally that there is no need to use any unnatural additives and dilute quality. At Vedica Organics, our products undergo strictest quality standard checks and are certified by the most stringent certification agencies in the world: One Cert Asia Agri. Certification Pvt. Ltd. (a subsidiary of cert Inc. USA) as per NOP (USDA), NPOP (Government of India) and EU standards for Organic Production. Besides organic certification for the very best quality, the processing & value addition is also in compliance with food safety management system, popularly known as ISO 22000:2005.
Like Nature, our working is also transparent and all products sold under the Vedica Organics brand can be traced back to the farmer’s field using an elaborate information Technology based traceability management tool. The cornerstones of our quality include:
In the last 10 years, Vedica Organics has gained very high levels of market acceptance. At a conceptual level, food that is healthy, nourishing, delicious and yet contaminant-free is a welcome idea. It is good for the environment and encourages sustainability of agriculture and so on. However many consumers continue to doubt the claims of organic food, and as such, have apprehensions about the authenticity. In such a scenario, compliance with the organic certification standards and using its mark as a logo or seal on organic products is essential. But since mass media options for educating the consumers are not yet viable, there is an ever increasing anxiety regarding the entire certification process as a whole. For the growth of organic sector and acceptance among consumers without reservation, it is important that factual information be shared.
At Vedica Organic, the organic certification is sacred. Advanced Information Technology tools are deployed to ensure efficient process monitoring, and compliance is ensured with the most advanced Country/Market standards such as US Standards for Organic NOP, European Standards EU, Indian Standards NPOP, Japan Standards JAS, Swiss Standards, and so on. Further, leading international certification agencies from US, Europe & India are assigned the responsibility to verify the organic value chain at Vedica Organic.
Additionally, the complete Vedica Organics value chain is certified for internationally recognised quality management standards, such as the ISO22000, HACCP, MRL Standards, Biological Contamination Standards, EUREPGAP, VALID IT, and so on. In essence all Vedica Organics products enjoy highest levels of quality compliances demanded by consumers anywhere in the world.
Organic food has become a revolution driven by aware consumers who demand food without contaminants. This essentially means synthetic and chemical inputs should not be used in farms, for qualifying as an organic produce. Click on each link to read more about Vedica Organics is staying true to the revolution.
Many countries have enacted laws to regulate organic food production, handling and processing: commonly known as Organic Standards. Unlike other quality certification based on ‘product testing,’ organic certification is entirely based on ‘process verification’. To ensure the authenticity of organic claims, the procedure is prescribed as below:
The organic value chain begins with the farmer who takes up organic cultivation. We associate with farmers who take care to ensure highest levels of guarantee for our organic claim. This includes enrolment, technology transfer, record maintenance, inspections etc. Here is a profile of a typical Vedica Organics farmer:
All Vedica Organics are certified by:
USDA NOP by Onecert Asia
EU By Onecert Inc, under ISO65 Equivalence
JAS by CERES of GERMANY
Standards for organic in Switzerland By BIO – SUISSE
INDIAN NOP by Onecert Asia
In addition the Processing & Value addition is also in compliance with Food Safety Management System popularly known as ISO 22000:2005 (ISO 9000 & HACCP). For trade and marketing in UK, the Vedica Organics range of Spices is also certified for VALID IT By BODYCOTE in UK. We are also in the process of acquiring acceptance under Marks & Spencer, UK through document audit for Allergens & GMO in Spices.
The global acceptance of organic food has happened, thanks to universally recognised and accepted organic standards.
IFOAM Basic Standards: IFOAM has been in the forefront of these standards development initiatives across the world. IFOAM’s Organic Guarantee System is the first initiative anywhere in the world, and unites the organic world through a common system of standards, verification and identity. The IFOAM Basic Standards provide a framework for certification bodies and standard setting organisations worldwide to develop their own certification standards and cannot be used for certification on their own. Together the IFOAM Basic standards for Organic Production and Processing (IBS) and the IFOAM Accreditation Criteria for Bodies Certifying Organic Production and Processing (IAC) constitute the IFOAM Norms. The IFOAM seal is a market-oriented mark of compliance. The mark ensures wholesalers, retailers and consumers that a product and its producers are organically certified within the IFOAM Organic Guarantee System. However this being a private initiative, i.e., outside the laws of the government, could not become well recognised mark among the consumers in the world.
Codex Alimentarius Guidelines: The Codex Alimentarius commission implements the FAO/WHO Food Standards Program, the purpose of which is to protect the health of consumers and ensure fair trade practices. The Codex Alimentarius is a collection of internationally adopted food standards. It also includes provisions of an advisory nature in the form of codes of practice, guidelines and other measures. It is intended to guide and promote the elaboration and establishment of definitions and requirement for foods, to assist their harmonization and in doing so, facilitate international trade. These guidelines define organic production and labelling in a manner that protects the consumer from products that falsely claim to be organic. In India, CFTRI Mysore has been designated as nodal Codex Food Laboratory. This is a joint project of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Government of India and CSIR. However even these Standards have also not been able to gain the consumer confidence, as compared to Country Standards.
As the sector started to grow bigger, in time many Governments across the world too formulated their own standards, which were in sync with each other. Some of the most prominent among them are –
National Organic Program USA: In the past, organic farming practices were haphazardly regulated by a wide variety of governmental and private certification programs. To bring about uniformity, the Congress of the United States passed the Organic Food Production Act in 1990. The Act mandates the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish national standards governing the methods of organic production. The final rules which were effective from February 2001 established the National Organic Program (NOP) as an arm of the USDA. This program has been developed to facilitate domestic and international marketing of fresh and processed organic food, and assure consumers that such products meet consistent, uniform standards. The regulations among other things prohibit the use of genetically modified ingredients, irradiation to decontaminate products, and sewage sludge as fertilizers for any food sold as an organic product. As of today the Organic Seal of NOP is one of the most recognised mark among consumers, not only in the US but also across the world. All Vedica Products are also certified as per USDA NOP Standards.
In Europe, initially most organic trade was based on Private Standards. Many private agencies offered organic certification services, mostly based on IFOAM Standards. Their marks/logos were promoted and recognized by consumers. However, when the trade was better regulated, European Commission came forward to formulate uniform standards applicable to all the countries in Europe. These were known as EU 2091/92 standards for organic and a new Seal/Logo was extensively promoted and recognized. The EU standards achieved equivalence with US standards as well as with the ISO 65 norms. In some countries in Europe, like in UK, even today they have better recognized private standards by Soil Association. At Vedica Organics, the organic products are certified as per EU norms as well.
In Japan, the growth of organic market was also linked to regulations introduced by the government. In Japan they were notified as JAS standards. Since at Vedica Organic only few products are being exported to Japan, it has some of its products presently certified as per JAS standards.
In India, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India is responsible for setting standards for export of organic produce. APEDA has been the designated agency to implement the Organic Standards. The National Programme for Organic Production was launched in March 2000. It contained Standards for organic products exports. The NPOP standards have mostly been based on provisions contained in Standards prescribed by Agencies such as IFOAM, EU regulations and Codex. The Indian NPOP Standards have also achieved equivalence with US & EU standards. All certification agencies operating in India have to be necessarily accredited, to certify as per NPOP standards, and thus all the projects and products from Vedica Organic are certified so. NPOP standards being export standards for long, from the Year 2009, the Indian NPOP standards have now also been recognized for domestic markets, after being notified under the Agmark Act, by the Ministry of Agriculture & Cooperation, Government of India.
Most health problems suffered by humans today are linked either to the food itself or its quality. For long, regulators and scientists managed quality, during its processing, packing and retailing/serving. But after 40-50 years of this kind of quality management, there is a new thinking regarding the need for quality management to go beyond - right up to cultivation itself. In a way organic philosophy meets this need, and has also been accepted as the ultimate norms for quality management.
For other types of conventionally produced food, the quality management rigour is not as strong as in the case of organic. The new concept of traceability is now being introduced as an assurance for the quality. Traceablility means that every food product that is on the shelf of a retail and or food service outlet can be sourced by the consumer to the place where it has originated. Regulators worldwide are now working hard with producers to deliver this assurance. For organic foods, this assurance is inbuilt in the system of process monitoring and verification. Possibly this is also one reason why organic certification has been such an expensive affair, all these years.
At Vedica Organics, a unique system of process verification based on IT application has been developed. This system ensures complete record maintenance on an online platform for all producers, with up to date records of all operations being carried out at the organic farm. Both paper records as Farm Diary, as well as electronic records are maintained through farm level supervisors. There is also a two tier verification process by the inspectors at Vedica Organics, and then there is third party verification by the Certification Agency. This imparts highest level of authenticity to the organic process verification. Electronic records also provide complete information for all producers, crops and lots maintained batch-wise with the click of a button on a computer. This means for every pack sold by Vedica Organic the interested consumer can get complete information about the farmer, crop season, quantity of production, batch wise quality and so on. An assured quality guarantee!
Vedica Organics meets all quality demands and expectations by consumers all over the world. Some of them may be desired quality parameters affecting the buying decisions, but some are statutory and are legally binding. While many food safety, hygiene, contamination and adulteration standards are legally binding, the size, colour, aroma, taste like parameters also known as product specifications determine the consumer preferences.
At Vedica Organics, quality is a religious ritual. Every effort is made to deliver the very best to consumers. Both statutory provisions governing the quality of product as well as other parameters are monitored very closely through an elaborate process. It involves lab-based quality checks and process based monitoring techniques. Significant quality values associated with every product from Vedica Organic’s portfolio include the variety, place of cultivation and all the geographically associated characteristics of the food products sold. As a result, almost one third of products sold also qualify for registration under the following:
Geographical Indication (GI): The quality management at Vedica Organic begins with the selection of project areas for the cultivation of specific crops. Every effort is made to identify areas, which are traditionally known for that crop in terms of its inherent quality attributes. This approach enables the best quality crop variety available for marketing and delivering superior sensory attributes like taste, aroma, flavour, cooking quality etc. It is also makes it much easier to take up the organic cultivation in traditional growing areas.
Good Agricultural Practices (GAP): This refers to methods, which when applied to agriculture, produce results that are in harmony with the values of the proponents of those practices. Multiple GAP codes, standards and regulations have been developed in recent years by not just the food industry and producer organizations, but also governments and NGOs. GAP aims to codify agricultural practices at farm level for a range of commodities. The objective of GAP codes, standards and regulations implanted at the farm level include, to a varying degree as follows.
Appropriate adoption and monitoring of GAP helps improve the safety and quality of food and other agricultural products at the farm level. It may help reduce the risk of non-compliance with national and international regulations, standards and guidelines (in particular of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the International Plant Protection Convention IPPC regarding permitted pesticides, maximum levels of contaminants (including pesticides, veterinary drugs, radionuclide and mycotoxins) in food and non-food agricultural products, as well as other chemical, microbiological and physical contamination hazards. Adoption of GAP helps promotes sustainable agriculture and contributes to meeting national and international environment and social development objectives.
Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points (HACCP): Safety of food supply is the key to consumer confidence. In the past, periodic plant inspections and sample testing have been used to ensure the quality and safety of food products. HACCP was introduced as a system to control the safety of the product when manufactured, rather than trying to detect problems by testing the finished product.
This system is based on assessing the inherent hazards or risks in a particular product or process and designing a system to control them. Specific points where hazards can be controlled in the process are identified and monitored regularly to keep the Critical Control Points under control. The HACCP system has been successfully applied in all the Production Units. The system fits in well with modern quality and management techniques. It is especially compatible with the ISO 22000 and just in time delivery of ingredients. In this environment, consumers are assured of receiving quality products matching their specifications.
ISO 22000: 2005 Food Safety Management System: Food reaches consumers via supply chains that may link many different types of organizations and may stretch across multiple borders. A weak link may result in unsafe food, which is dangerous to consumers? health. ISO 22000 has made implementation of the HACCP system easier as it incorporates food hygiene principles of HACCP. Another benefit of ISO 22000 is that it extends the system management approach of ISO 9001:2000 which though widely implemented in all sectors does not specifically address food safety. The ISO 22000:2005 specific requirements have enabled Vedica Organics to achieve the following objectives:
During the industrial revolution, food underwent major transformation. Multiple levels and value chain management of agriculture crops emerged, and became so complex that it was not possible for producers to directly reach out to consumers. While this offered many benefits to consumers in terms of regular availability, better products, more variety and convenience, it brought about distortion in trade, the major issue being lesser share for the producer as compared to everyone else in the food value chain.
Today, the very idea of organic is based on overcoming all the shortcomings in the food value chain, beginning with contamination in food, from cultivation onwards. It is imperative that the producer meets increasing expectations of organic consumers. When an organic crop is cultivated, it must offer value for money and meet the expectations of the quality conscious producer, consumers & trade channel players. While for conventional food products it is being attempted through a novel concept like Fair Trade Labelling and Certification, in case of organics it is achieved as a basic principle of organic certification.
At Vedica Organics, all operations are in compliance with fair trade standards for international certification. Initiatives are in the pipeline to get complete value chain certified as well. Collaborations are being established to evolve India specific Standards and Certification under the patronage of Government Agencies.
Not all trade is fair. The farmers at the beginning of the chain don’t always get a fair share of the benefits of trade. Fairtrade enables consumers to put this right. It offers farmers a better deal and improved terms of trade. This allows them the opportunity to improve their lives and plan for the future. The Fair Trade label offers a positive way to buy products in solidarity with those who produced them. Buying these products helps empower farmers and tackle poverty. Thus Fairtrade offers consumers an easy yet powerful way to reduce poverty simply through every day shopping. Fair Trade certification is not just about paying farmers and workers fairly. Producers are expected to trade responsibly and respect and improve lives of those who work with them, the communities in which they work and the environment. It is about promoting education and developing more sustainable trade ties with other nations. Fair Trade certification involves voluntary cooperation with a certifying organisation and usually reflects an international effort between companies and suppliers.
Standards & Compliance: Although Vedica Organics products do not carry the Fairtrade Mark, it complies with and meets every aspect of Fairtrade standards: designed to address the imbalance of power in trading and the injustices of conventional trade. Like every Fair Trade certified company, Vedica Organics guarantees that their suppliers do not use child or slave labour, workers are paid a fair living wage, that employment opportunities are available to all, everyone has an equal opportunity for advancement, and that healthy working and living conditions are provided for workers. Vedica Organics also supports the educational and technical needs of their workforce, while promoting active and healthy trade agreements and is open to public accountability. Its standards involve environmentally sustainable production and harvest practices, encouraging a stable market and a healthy Earth. The extraordinary growth achieved in a short span and increasing number of farmers being enrolled every month is an indication of responsible business behaviour by Vedica Organics.
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