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POLICY & REGULATIONS

FSSAI expedites work on new packaging, labelling, claims & advtg norms
Wednesday, 06 September, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Ashwani Maindola, New Delhi
The Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has expedited its work on the new packaging, labelling and claims and advertisement regulations, and is expected to release the drafts a couple of months from now. There would be separate regulations for the three subjects.

Recently, the country’s apex food regulator held a meeting, at which the provisions for the said three regulations were discussed.

Divided into 3 parts
Pawan Kumar Agarwal, chief executive officer, FSSAI, said, “FSSAI is reviving the existing Food Safety Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011, and decided that the same would be divided into three parts, namely regulations pertaining to packaging, labelling and advertisement and claims.”

He added, “All the three areas are vital. Earlier, there was a single regulation for all three subjects, and we were using the standards laid down by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) for the packaging subject.”

“A lot needs to be done in this regard. We held talks with the stakeholders of various sectors, including the packaging industry, food industry and others, and received their inputs. We will compile them to make a draft for the stakeholders’ consultation soon,” Agarwal said.

He added, “Earlier, there was a joint mechanism for packaging and labelling aspects, and virtually no regulations for claims and advertisement. Since all three aspects are important, there will be separate regulations for these subjects. On labelling, the work has been completed. But on the packaging front, regulations are weak, and consultations are underway.”

According to FSSAI, the new norms would be finalised on the basis of recommendations from the expert group and stakeholders.

The proposed packaging regulations will cover most of the packaging materials that come in contact with food. Thee include aluminium foil, laminates, aluminium sheets used for cans, plastics, glass, paper, tin, etc.

It also addressed the principal material, printing and pigments and colorants that may come in contact with foodstuff directly or indirectly.

“The regulations included a suggestive list of packaging materials for different categories,” said an official privy to the development.

The old standards only give preference to the packing and labelling norms. Those were Indian standards, in which there were specific requirements for certain commodities like milk, fruits, vegetable products, edible oil, etc.

Meanwhile, these new regulations will take a while to come out, as there is a process involved in its finalisation. They will go through scientific panels, the expert group and consultations with the stakeholders, including the industry, and legal vetting.
 
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