Colourful display of company logos and attractive wordplay around the brand may soon shrink in size as packets of commodities will now be required to give prominence to details such as name of manufacture / packager / importer, net quantity of product, manufacturing date, retail sale price and consumer care contacts in readable font size and occupying at least 40% area in display.
The guidelines for display of mandatory information on packaged commodities, issued last year (May 15, 2015) by department of consumer affairs, following an amendment to the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011, will be implemented this July. Following the implementation, it will be essential to cover six mandatory information on 40% area of the packet of any commodity.
As per a statement released by the department, all packaged commodities have to display six mandatory information, more prominently, covering 40% area of the packet, except top and bottom. The rules will be implemented from July and the department shall establish a monitoring cell to ensure strict compliance to new provision.
According to the amendment, name of manufacture/packager/ importer, net quantity of product, manufacturing date, retail sale price and consumer care contacts shall have to be displayed in a panel of 40% of the area of the packet in readable font size. The earlier rules did not specify the area for the display of this information.
The reason for the change, according to the department, is that consumers should be able to read the information easily. The department pointed out that packaged commodities rules were amended by ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution for the purpose in May 2015. They were to be implemented from January 1, but the implementation was deferred till July 1, 2016.
While the government seems to be keen on the implementation, the food industry has reacted cautiously to the development. D V Malhan, executive secretary, All India Food Processors Association (AIFPA), observes, “The rules by the consumer affairs department appear overlapping with those of FSSAI. The industry will make a representation to the department if need arises.”
Meanwhile, recently, in a meeting of Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), Union minister of consumer affairs, food & public distribution Ram Vilas Paswan directed officials of his ministry to ensure enforcement of the amended rules from July this year positively.
Paswan said that his ministry was setting up quick response system to attend consumer complaints, gearing up existing National Consumer Helpline for the purpose and going in for a senior level officer monitoring the disposal of complaints on daily basis. Paswan expressed the hope that the Consumer Protection Act, which had many unique features to safeguard interests of consumers, would be passed by Parliament in the second part of the Budget session.
Reviewing the working of BIS during the governing body meeting, the minister asked it to formulate rules to ensure early implementation of new BIS Act so that culture of quality goods and services can be ushered in the country.
Deferment of date
Earlier, the legal metrology department under the ministry of consumer affairs had issued an advisory for deferring the implementation of the packaging rules amendment issued in May 2015. The department in an advisory stated that the affected industry could use the old packaging till June 30, 2016. This was done primarily to clear the old stocks and industries concerned thereby get time to implement the amendments smoothly.