Overview of Product Certification
Product Certification is a mark for assuring the fact that the manufacturer has tested the Product and the Product is as per the specified quality standard. The packaged products with such marks ensure their quality. Such certification mark specifies the area of Product's origin, materials used in manufacturing, mode of production, nature and characteristics of Product, etc. Various types of marks are available under the head of Product Certification; some are mandatory while others are advisory. Products are identified by lab testing by the manufacturers of such products before applying for Product Certification, and it is a mandatory step as recognised by the Government of India.
The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), which comes under the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO Standards), governs product certification in India. BIS's role is to test, inspect and certify products to comply with product safety standards. It ensures the safety of people who are associated with such products. The Product that fails to meet such compliances is considered too risky for both the consumer and the entity. Before granting the certificate to the products, rigorous testing is performed by the recognised testing laboratory.
The benefit of Product Certification is that it gives comprehensive and global recognition of Products and ensures that the products comply completely with national and international law.
Eligibility to apply for Product Certification
The following are eligible to apply for Product Certification:
- Any foreign or domestic manufacturer who sales its products in markets of India
- Any manufacturer who wants to sell its product under a different brand from the existing one
- Any manufacturer who is manufacturing its Product from any different location.
Types of Product Certification Mark
The following are different types of Product Certification Mark recognised by BIS:
- ISI Mark
This mark is recognised for the standard industrial products in India. It is mandatory for the products to have ISI Mark, especially for electronic products. Also, for some of the products, it is considered voluntary. It ensures that the Product is complying with the standard laid down by BIS, and it is indicated as IS: xxx on top of the package of the Product or the Product itself, as per the requirement.
AGMARK is issued for agricultural products by the Directorate of Marketing and Inspection of the Government of India and is legally enforced by the Agricultural Procedure (Grading and Marking) Act, 1937 in India. There is a Central AGMARK Laboratory (CAL) in Nagpur, and there are eleven Regional AGMARK Laboratories (RAL) in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bhopal, Chennai, Kochi, Kolkata, Kanpur, Guntur, Amritsar, Jaipur and Rajkot.
- FPO Mark
FPO Mark is mandatory on processed fruit products that are sold in India. Such products can be recognised as packaged fruit juices, fruit jams, pickles, crushes and squashes, dehydrated fruit products and fruit extracts. This mark ensures that the Product is manufactured in a hygienic environment and fit for consumption.
- BIS Hallmark
In India, the BIS Hallmark is mandatory for precious metals, especially for gold and silver jewellery. This mark ensures the purity of such metal. It certifies that the jewellery is complying with the standards as stated by BIS.
- Non-Polluting Vehicle Mark
For any new motor vehicle sold in India, obtaining the Non-Polluting Vehicle Mark is mandatory. This mark ensures that the motor vehicle complies with the relevant provisions of Bharat Stage Emission Standards. The validity of this mark is only for six months.
- Indian Organic Certification
Indian Organic Certification is a mark for farm products that are processed in India. This mark ensures that an organic food product complies with National Standards for Organic Products. It confirms that the raw materials or any other materials used in the manufacturing of the Product are grown in an organic way of farming, i.e., they are free from chemical fertilisers, pesticides or induced hormones.
- ECO Mark
BIS issues ECO Marks for products that conform to a set standard to cause the most negligible impact on the ecosystem. It is granted to Eco-friendly products such as soaps and detergents, paints, food items, Lubricating Oils, Batteries, Food Additives, Wood Substitutes, Packing/Packaging Materials, Cosmetics, Aerosols and Propellants, Plastic Products, Textiles, Architectural Paints and Powder Coatings, Electrical and Electronic Goods, Fire Extinguisher, Leather and Coir & Coir Products.
Green and brown dot
Green and brown dot marks are printed on all food products to differentiate their nature. The Brown dot indicates that the packed food item is non-vegetarian, and the green dot indicates that the packed food item is vegetarian. These are mandatorily placed in a prominent place on the package of the food items.
Documents Required for Product Certification
Documents required for any application filed under BIS require testing documents, brand documents, authorisation documents, etc. Other documents required for filing an application to obtain Product Certification are as follows:
- Business License of manufacturing unit
- Lab Test Report
- Scope of Business License
- ISO Certificate to manufacturer
- Authorisation Letter
- Trademark Certificate/ Trademark Authorisation Letter
- Nomination Letter of AIR
- All testing documents
- Technical Specification sheet/ Product manual
Procedure to obtain Product Certification
Procedure to obtain Product Certification under BIS includes the following mandatory steps:
- Product's lab test in India
A detailed process for obtaining Product Certification is mentioned below:
Step 1: Check and identify appropriate Indian Standard Product
- The initial step is to check whether the Product fulfils the set of rules stated by the Indian Standard (IS), whether the manufacturing unit has proper equipment and test facilities, and then select the appropriate Product.
Steps 2: Filing of application with required details
- The applicant submits an application for Product Certification with the following required details:
- Raw materials
- Manufacturing process and machines used
- Location of Manufacturing unit
- Details of Product testing
- Plan layout
- Requisite fees
Step 3: Lab Testing of Products
- Products go for laboratory testing at a BIS recognised lab.
- The testing Lab provides a detailed Test Report of such Product based on which the process of obtaining Product Certification goes ahead.
Step 4: Objection raised by BIS
- On submission of the application with BIS, the BIS raises any objection related to the details provided with the application.
- The applicant responds to such objections as and when required by the BIS.
Step 5: Manufacturing Unit Inspection
- The appropriate authority goes for inspection of the manufacturing unit.
- If the applicant fails to confirm all the compliances required for Product Certification, then its application proceeds for rejection or closure, and so the applicant files a new application.
- An applicant has to ensure that on the day of inspection, the products, required machinery and testing facility are available with it.
- The applicant provides the production process along with the production or quality control staff.
- Applicant also ensures the testing of samples and generates a test report.
- If such an inspection officer points out any loophole at the time of inspection, then he has to share the same with the Advisory report.
- And after satisfactory inspection and verification of samples at the manufacturing unit, seal the samples and counter samples of the products as per the guidelines in the product manual.
Step 6: Issue of Product Certificate
- After receiving the test report or after inspection (as the case may be) and with no other action pending, BIS or the appropriate authority proceeds with the application for grant of Product Certificate, and after payment of the required government fee, the BIS issues the Product Certification.
Product Certification is valid for two years, and a renewal application for the same is filed on completion of 2 years with the required renewal fee.
Lab Testing Process
Procedure for Lab Testing in case of Product Certification is as follows:
- The recognised lab reviews the test request and contracts before initiating the testing of the products.
- The labs only go for testing of those samples that are in good condition and have BIS Seal, and the same is also mentioned in the test report prepared by such lab.
- In case of any dissatisfaction or doubt on the quality of sample delivered with test request or if the quantity is not appropriate, then a formal report is sent to the concerned authority.
- The recognised lab conducts the test carefully and strictly, following the complete test methods specified by Indian Standards and using only reliable materials.
- The test report is sent to the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). The testing Laboratory sends its test report to the concerned Inspection Office or Lab, which has provided the sample.
- If the test report is required to be sent to another BIS office, the same is mentioned in the test request.
- If the BIS requires, then the testing lab can also go for electronic transmission of test results.
- The testing lab keeps the remnants of the product sample after testing at least for a minimum period of three months before disposing it or returning it to the BIS or manufacturer.
- The test report prepared by the testing labs is kept confidential between the testing laboratory and BIS.
- The payment of testing charges is made by the BIS officer who sends the sample to the labs as the lab forward the invoice of testing with the test report.
- The recognised laboratory keeps such test reports for a minimum period of three years.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Product Certification is a clear mark on products that signifies that the Product has been tested and meets all the required standards related to safety and performance in the markets, nationally and internationally across the globe.
The Government of India introduces the Product Certificate Scheme under the Bureau of Indian Standards through the BIS Act, 2016, to standardise goods or products that enter the market for sale. This ensures that products available for consumers are safe and of standard quality.
The validity of Product Certification is for a period of 2 years only.
The manufacturer must have the following requirements:
- BIS License
- Appropriate process controls
- Quality control
- Testing capabilities
- Other relevant requirements asked by Indian Standard Specification (ISS)
The Foreign Manufacturer that desires to obtain Product Certification then has to set up an office or branch in India and nominate an agent for acquiring such Product Certification.
The manufacturers of the Indian Standard recognised products that are located in India or outside India are eligible for a Product Certificate.
Environment-friendly products are granted certification under a separate scheme known as ECO Mark Scheme.
The ISI mark is a grant by BIS under its Product Certification Scheme for the industrial items in India to the products that comply with the required Indian Standards.
Every package of non-vegetarian food items carries a brown/red mark on it, while every package of vegetarian food items carries a green mark, this commonly known as green and brown/red dot.