New Delhi, Oct 13: The European Commission (EC) has put five certification agencies in India on notice after finding traces of a chemical, more than its permissible limit and even in organic sesame seeds exported from the country.
In a draft notification issued October 5, the European Commission has mentioned that CU Inspections India, Ecocert India, Indian Organic Certification Agency (Indocert), Lacon Quality Certifications and OneCert International should be taken off from the list of agencies as approved by India. When this draft notification becomes operational, any organic products certified by these agencies in India may not be accepted in Europe.
This draft has not been adopted or endorsed by the Commission yet as these are its preliminary views and may not be regarded as an official position of the EC.
A large number of consignments of thousands of tons of allegedly organic sesame seed contaminated with ethylene oxide (ETO) have been imported from India since October 2020, it claimed in the notification. India’s sesamum seed (including organic) export to the EU had dropped 47% to $71 million (Rs 531 crore) in FY21. In volume terms, the fall was 38% at 43,835 tonne.
There were about 90 incidents of a consignment of sesame seeds getting rejected due to detection of ETO which were also captured in EU’s internal Organic Farming Information System (OFIS), industry experts said. ETO is a carcinogen for humans and levels of contamination varied depending on the consignment.
Meanwhile, the accreditation committee of US-based IOAS has withdrawn the accreditation of OneCert International about organic textile. The agency has given time to India’s certification company till November 5 to file an appeal against its decision and also inform by October 22 if it wants to appeal.
“The proposed action may further strengthen India’s organic programme. The export of organic will not face any problem as we have 28 certification agencies. India needs to re-invent its organic brand and rejuvenate this sector through policy innovation,” said S Chandrasekaran, a trade policy analyst.
India’s total exports of organic products were at 8.88 lakh tonne worth $1.04 billion in FY21.
Source: Financial Express