Food Safety

About Food Safety

Food Safety is one of the key pillars of ASHA’s work. It is an aspect of our food systems that all consumers are potentially interested in, and through this, ASHA draws in urban consumers to start engaging with farmers and farming. One of our engagements on this front has been about the prevailing certification systems for organic farming in India, especially after the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) made certification mandatory under NPOP or PGS-India regimes for all food sold as organic food. In what might appear counter-intuitive, ASHA is resisting this move for 3 main reasons – that instead of getting the chemical agriculture regime to reveal which toxins have been used, it is the organic regime that is being asked to show proof of its organicity even if no premium price is involved etc; that certification regimes in India are not fool-proof when it comes to reliable quality assurance; and that the available certification regimes are not equipped to cater to all farmers who are into organic farming at this point of time, or with the pace of scaling up of organic farming in the country. This is an issue where the interests of (organic) farmers are once again being sacrificed to uphold the interests of consumers. Organic farming is a lot more than just consumer food safety. A lot of engagement with the FSSAI has happened from 2016 onwards on this issue. For consumers who want to be assured about the ‘organicity’ of their food, ASHA certainly supports your quest. One way to ensure this is to keep asking for the farmers’ names when ever you buy organic (traceability and transparency). Or purchase from direct bazaars or near-direct small retailers.
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