From June 1, ‘loose’ sweets will carry best-before date

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on February 25, 2020 Published on February 25, 2020

Shops told to indicate manufacturing and expiry date of non-packaged sweets at display counters; currently rule applies only to packaged sweets

Traditional Indian sweet shops will soon be required to display the expiry dates of loose and non-packaged sweets on the display counter at their outlets. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), in its latest notification, has directed mithai shops to display the manufacturing and the best-before dates for loose sweets, effective June 1.

In its order, the food safety authority said it has received complaints regarding the sale of stale and ‘expired’ sweets, which poses a “potential health hazard”.

“In public interest, and to ensure food safety, it has been decided that in the case of non-packaged/loose sweets, the container/tray holding the sweets at the outlet for sale should display ‘Date of Manufacturing’ and ‘Best Before Date’ of the product. This will be effective from June 1,2020,” it added.

Existing stipulations

Per the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011, pre-packaged sweets are already required to display this information on the labels. Now, this norm is being made mandatory for loose and non-packaged sweets, too.

“The Food Business Operators shall decide and display the ‘Best Before Date’ of the sweets depending on the nature of the product and local conditions,” said the FSSAI order.

Last year, the FSSAI had issued a guidance note on traditional Indian milk products, listing out the shelf life of some of the traditional sweets. For instance, it recommends the consumption of some, such as rasgulla, badam milk, rasmalai and rajbhog, within two days of manufacture.

However, traditional Indian sweet makers have expressed concerns regarding the implementation of the FSSAI order.

Concern over implementation

Firoz H Naqvi, Director, Federation of Sweets and Namkeen Manufacturers (FSNM), said the directive has come as a surprise for the industry. “Only 5-10 per cent of traditional Indian sweets are packaged and the majority of them are sold in loose form. An outlet, on an average, has as many as 200 varieties of sweets to sell, which are made from different kinds of ingredients and therefore have different durations of shelf life. While we agree with the intent of this direction and that it is in consumers’ interest, implementing this norm on the ground will be very challenging,” he said.

“We will be writing to FSSAI to inform them about these challenges and hope to work towards a more practical solution in this regard,” Naqvi added.

Meanwhile, the FSSAI has directed all State Food Safety Commissioners to ensure compliance of its latest directive by all the concerned food business operators.

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Published on February 25, 2020
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