The Agricultural and Processed Food Export Development Authority (APEDA) suspended the accreditation of an organic certification agency for one year, while banning four other agencies from registering any new processor or exporter for the certification of organic products. The authority also imposed fines on the five companies.

APEDA’s decision, taken on October 20, follows developments in the European Union, where the European Commission (EC) has published a draft notification to blacklist five certification agencies certification of exports of organic products from India, as some shipments authorized by them did not meet presence standards. ethylene oxide (ETO).

Blacklisted by the EU

Four of the agencies on the EU’s blacklist – CU Inspections India Pvt Ltd, ECOCERT India Pvt Ltd, Indian Organic Certification Agency (Indocert) and OneCert International Private Limited – are among the five agencies against which APEDA has taken action. measures. The other agency is Aditi Organic Certifications Pvt Ltd.

APEDA, which is the competent authority to oversee organic certification, found that OneCert was the certifying agency in the case of four exporters whose shipments of organic sesame seeds, shelled sesame, white sesame, d pigweed and flax violated the ETO minimum presence standard. APEDA, in a letter informing of its actions after a hearing in September, said 36 of the EU’s complaints concerned shipments certified by OneCert, which had not identified the source of the contamination. He also accused OneCert of non-compliance in the certification program and inconsistencies in inspection results.

Penalty imposed

OneCert was fined 5 lakh, while the others were asked to pay a fine of ₹ 2 lakh each. All four were also categorized as high risk.

In the case of Aditi, APEDA found seven EU complaints against sesame, psyllium and brown flax seeds shipped by an exporter. He was also accused of failing to identify the point of contamination with ETO levels reaching 24 mg / kg against the standard of 0.1 mg / kg. Organic consignments cleared by CU Inspections India Ltd were found to have received nine notifications from the EU, in particular for consignments from two exporters. APEDA said that although the agency found sourcing measures by exporters insufficient, it did not report this during annual inspections.

ECOCERT has been found responsible for four notifications of irregularities from the EU in the case of an exporter. Although he found a high risk of cross-contamination with conventional products, he called it “minor” when it comes to standards compliance. He also failed to report the problem initially or during his annual inspection.

IndoCert, APEDA said, had authorized 13 shipments of sesame, amaranth and quinoa seeds from two exporters that had received irregularity notifications from the EU. In one of the consignments, the ETO level was 11 mg / kg. The authority said the agency did not take sufficient measures to maintain the integrity of organic products and also report during the annual inspection.

Business sources said APEDA appeared to have strongly criticized OneCert as more than 25 complaints of irregularities had been received from the EU. They also called for a higher penalty so that agencies are more careful in clearing organic shipments in the future.

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