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PACKAGING

Deadline for industrial use of old packaging material extended to July 31
Monday, 18 June, 2018, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Shraddha Joshi, Mumbai
The Legal Metrology division of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Government of India, has issued an advisory allowing the industrial use of old packaging material which does not comply with the Legal Metrology Rules, 2017 till July 31, 2018 in order to maintain the smooth implementation of the rule.

This was the fourth such extension to comply with the said rules, which came into effect in January 2018. The first deadline for complying with the rules for putting stickers or tags or online printing was extended up to January 2018. Further it was extended till February and then to April.

The issued advisory stated, “On representations received, manufacturers or packers or importers are now allowed to put stickers or tags or online printing, etc. upto July 31, 2018 to make the mandatory declarations required under the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Amendment Rules, 2017.

As per the amended Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, it seeks to regulate pre- packaged commodities, making declarations about the date of manufacture, quantity, expiry date and manufacturer’s details, mandatory among other details about the product.

On the further representations received from the industry associations, the government has also stated that the initial enforcement steps may only be of an investigative nature, and any deficiency noticed should be brought to the notice of the concerned control officer, so as to provide an opportunity to manufacturer or packers to update their label declarations.

The government stated that it was expected that in the initial month of implementation of the said rules, there should be no prosecution for the shortcomings in the labelling requirement as far as the font size is concerned and given that it is not affecting the consumers in any way.

The revised rules for pre-packaged commodities required manufacturers to increase the font size of letters and numerals for making declarations, so that consumers can easily read the same. Bar coding/quick response (QR) coding, although voluntary, has also been provided for in the new rules.

“The country of origin shall be mandatorily declared, along with other declarations, including best before or use by date or expiry date, etc., required under these rules,” the advisory stated.

Welcoming the move, Prabodh Halde, president, Association of Food Scientists and Technologists (India) [AFST(I)], said, “It is a positive move taken by the government, and specially for the small manufacturers. All the manufacturers have to print the label in advance and place the order according to the minimum order quantity (MOQ) and it goes up to thousands and lakhs.”

“It is impractical to change the labelling every time when some change is made in the regulation. There are cylinders which are used to print the label and each cost about Rs 3 lakh,” he added.

“Even a small change in the cylinder, be it changing the font size, needs altogether a new cylinder to start printing with the said changes. And the current advisory deals with increasing numerical height on the labelling,” Halde said.

“Thus, it is good the government has provided another extension to manufacturer to exhaust their old stock and start complying with the revised regulation from August 2018,” he added.
 
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