Confectionery makers are bitter against a proposed amendment to the Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Rules mandating declaration of ingredient, nutritional and other product information on any package label with surface area exceeding 10 square cm.
At present, the PFA Rule 32, dealing with packaging and labeling of food, specifically exempts packs containing confectionery weighing 20 gm or less from listing ingredients or declaring the month and year of manufacture and period up to which it is `best for consumption.
Similarly, the Standards of Weights and Measures (Packaged Commodities) Rules do not apply to packs where the net weight of the product is 20 gm or less. These exemptions have proved useful for confectionery manufacturers, who retail 90 per cent of their products in individual packs of 3-5 gm at price points starting at 25 paise.
The detailed label declarations are printed only on the 450-500 gm multi-piece packages that supply to retailers, who then dispense their 100-150 pieces on an individual count basis. In the individual count packs, only mention the brand name, the confectionary classification, short address of manufacturer and presence of flavours and colours.
But, now, the Government plans to amend Rule 32 by moving from a weight-based to a surface area-based package-labelling norm, with the minimum cut-off set at 10 square cm, against the existing 20 gm. The amendment is expected to be notified shortly.
The statutory declarations to be printed on the 10-square cm-plus label surface include list of ingredients in descending order of their weight or volume, energy and protein content, allergenic or hypersensitive substances. Also it includes the details regarding manufacturing and expiry dates, lot/code/batch number, net weight, maximum retail price, and so on.