What is the difference between FSSAI and AGMARK?
Food businesses are required to meet specific standards for labelling, manufacturing, packaging, etc. Earlier, every Indian product was governed by a separate act developed for that particular product such as Milk Products Order 1992, Vegetable Oil Products Order 1947, etc. However, as time passed by, several other products were added to the list, which created a difficult situation for the authorities to keep track of laws. The ever-changing environment of the food industry has been through many amendments in its legal structure. To mitigate the complexity of the situation, the enforcement of (FSS) Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, was initiated that consolidated all the previous acts. Besides, it further results in much confusion for the food business operators that deal with agricultural products. Therefore, this blog will serve as a guide to highlight the AGMARK products list along with the difference between FSSAI and AGMARK.
A brief about FSSAI License
FSSAI, also known as the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, is an independent regulatory body that was formed in the year 2008 under the provisions of the FSS Act, 2006. The central aim of FSSAI is to monitor and regulate the quality control measures undertaken by food business operators in India. It also ensures the safety of food by providing a standard that covers all the food items which need to be safe and hygienic for consumption.
FSSAI License or certification is a compulsory requirement for anyone who wants to establish a food business. The FSSAI certified food gives a sense of assurance that the food is safe or suitable to eat. Each food business from manufacturing to distribution and even packaging has to adhere to the prescribed guidelines of FSSAI. Moreover, all food business operators must have a valid FSSAI License to function in India smoothly.
What is AGMARK Certification?
AGMARK is an agriculture certification mark that confirms the purity and quality of agriculture products in India. It is issued by Directorate of Marketing and Inspection, an attached office of the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare under Agricultural Produce (Grading and Marking) Act, 1937.
AGMARK signifies that the pesticide in a certified product is utilized within the stipulated limits. It functions in a similar manner to the FSSAI and emphasize on the quality of agricultural produce.
Apart from updating the AGMARK products list, the Directorate of Marketing and Inspection is responsible for the following duties:
- To ensure the quality and purity of the agricultural products.
- To be the third-party guarantor for quality certification.
- To lay down the quality standards for different agricultural goods and commodities.
- Lastly, to incorporate the food safety factors into the standards, according to WTO (World Trade Organization).
Functions performed by the FSSAI Authority
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India perform the following functions:
- Framing stringent regulations and guidelines in relation to the food products. FSSAI set out an appropriate system to enforce various standards.
- It lays down certain procedures and notification for the accreditation of laboratories.
- Further, it builds a mechanism for the issuance of certification that assures food safety management system for the food businesses.
- FSSAI provides technical support and scientific aid to the Central and State Governments with regard to the framing of legal policies for food safety and nutrition.
- FSSAI authorities accumulate data on food contamination, residues of food products, the prevalence of biological risk, identify the emerging risks, and introduce a rapid alert system.
- The authority creates an information network across India to promote awareness to the consumers, Panchayats & the public about food safety and also to address their concerns.
- The FSSAI authority also conducts training programmes for the people who intend to commence food businesses.
- It contributes to the development of international technical, sanitary, food, and phytosanitary standards.
- FSSAI draws proposal for the food authority’s work programmes by consulting with the Central Advisory Committee.
- After granting the FSSAI License, authorities implement work programmes and ensure its adoption by the food business operators;
- The Central and State Food Authorities monitors and verifies the relevant requirements of the law that are required to be fulfilled by food business operators at all stages of their businesses.
List of Products that fall under AGMARK Certification
Following is the AGMARK product list, for which a food business operator must attain this certification: for which a food business operator must attain this certification:
Head to Head comparison between FSSAI and AGMARK
Often FSSAI License and AGMARK are misinterpreted as one; despite sharing huge dissimilarities. As a food business operator, it is essential to have a better understanding of both the certification. The below table highlights the difference between FSSAI and AGMARK:
|Terms of Differences||FSSAI||AGMARK|
|Definition||FSSAI is a regulatory body established under the Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006 for inspecting the quality of food products.||AGMARK is a certification made for all the agricultural products in India.|
|Legal Framework||Formed under the Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006.||Established under Agriculture Produce (Grading and Marking) Act, 1937.|
|Basis of Allotment||The allotment and issuance of the FSSAI License is done based on the turnover and activity.||AGMARK Certification is allotted after extensive inspection and analysis.|
|Coverage||FSSAI covers a wide variety of food products and prescribes its standards that need to abide by the different provisions of law.||AGMAR standards cover quality guidelines for around 205 different commodities scaling from a variety of pulses, cereals to essential oils & vegetable oil.|
A Comprehensive Understanding of FSSAI and AGMARK
The primary difference between FSSAI and AGMARK is that the former is a government agency, while the later is a label provided for quality agricultural products.
FSSAI certification covers all the food items despite being agricultural or non-agricultural. It includes a broad spectrum of quality standards for food products and activities such as storage, re-labelling, manufacturing, import-export, and sales of food items.
Two variant acts govern FSSAI and AGMARK. On the one hand, FSSAI was entrenched under the Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006, while AGMARK is covered by the Agriculture Produce (Grading and Marking) Act, 1937, which amended later in 1986.
AGMARK product list includes the agricultural products that are certified after an extensive analysis like microbiological analysis, pesticide residue content, chemical analysis, and aflatoxin analysis, etc.
The tests or analyses of AGMARK products are conducted at different state-owned laboratories. Also, there are some regional-based laboratories in 11 nodal cities. The central laboratory of AGMARK is located in Nagpur. AGMARK Certification is only given to the agricultural products. Presently, there are around 213 agricultural products that are covered under AGMARK Certification.
The FSSAI License is granted based on the turnover and activities conducted by a particular food establishment. For instance, each branch (franchise) of McDonald’s needs to have a separate FSSAI License despite operating under the same brand name.
Further, the FSSAI License is segregated under three kinds of licenses which, include; Basic, State, and Central. However, there is no such distinctive AGMARK.
AGMARK is approved by the Directorate of Marketing and Inspection, whereas FSSAI is a regulatory authority that issues the license on its own.
FSSAI has prescribed science-based standards to ensure the quality of the food products. Additionally, it monitors other essential attributes of the food business, such as storage, manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, and development of sanitary standards. FSSAI also works diligently to spread awareness among the consumers about the food standards.
AGMARK is only a certification mark that applies to the AGMARK product list, while FSSAI is a government agency. There is no grievance redressal option facilitated in AGMARK, but the FBOs can resolve their issues with their respective FSSAI offices.
If you need legal assistance in FSSAI Certification or License, you can contact our Swarit experts. They have adequate legal knowledge and guide you in FSSAI documentation and streamline the procedure.
Read, Also: FSSAI Packaging and Labelling Regulations.