Labelling and Packaging explained with relevant laws

INTRODUCTION

PACKAGING

MEANING

Packaging is the process of designing and developing a suitable package for enclosing and holding the product to cover and secure the product. The focus of packaging is on the appearance, presentation and first impression of the product. Packaging may be in the form of a container, wrapper, box, tube, plastic bottle, tetra pack or tin etc.

Packaging reflects the companies’ overall marketing efforts as an attractive and high-quality packaging attracts and can positively influence customer’s purchase decision.

LABELLING

MEANING

Labelling is the text, design, symbol, logo, instructions and suggestions for usage etc, printed on the package of the product with the purpose of informing and attracting customers. Labelling focuses on the product description and provide all necessary information about the product to customers in compliance with the legal requirements of the jurisdictions in which the product is sold. Labels can be classified as;

  • Brand label
  • Grade label
  • Descriptive label
  • Informative label

EXPLAINED WITH AN EXAMPLE

If suppose we don’t get the shampoo in bottles or sachets, but in a polythene bag from the retailer, then storing of the shampoo in the bathroom would be a problem. In this case, packaging comes into picture.

Similarly, if information regarding the brand name, grade, description etc., is not given on the product, then it would be difficult to pick the right product. This is when labelling comes into picture.

FOOD SAFETY AND STANDARDS AUTHORITY OF INDIA (FSSAI)

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is a self-governing body that regulates and monitors the food business in India. It is established under the ministry of health and Welfare, Government of India.  FSSAI is responsible for raising the standards of food safety in India. It ensures quality checks of food products before the consumption by the general public. It is responsible for licensing and registering food business operators in India.

With the growing concern over the health risks related to consumption of packaged food, the FSSAI packaging and labelling regulation came into force to protect the health and safety of the community at large.

Specific requirements as per the food safety and standard Act,2006

1. Drinking water:

packaged and mineral water- bottles/containers shall be made of polyethylene.

2. Milk and milk products:

  • Bottling or sealing or filling of container shall be automatically or mechanically done.
  • Wrapping and packaging cannot be reused.

3. Fruits and vegetable products

  • Fruit bottle shall be sealed with identity mark.
  • Pulps and juice can be packed in wooden barrels.
  • Pickle should be packed in proper clean bottles or in a jar.

LABELLING GUIDELINES BY THE FSSAI

Labelling of every food shall be in compliance with the FSSAI Packaging and labelling regulations.

  • The declaration shall be in English or Hindi in Devanagari script.
  • Label must be correct and not misleading.
  • Contents on the label must be clear, eminent and readable.
  • License number shall be displayed.
  • Label should contain name of the food and food description.
  • List of ingredients used in the food shall be displayed on the product.
  • Non-vegetarian product like meat, fish, or chicken or any other non-veg product must contain declaration as symbol and color-codes indicating that the product is non-vegetarian food.
  • Net quantity by weight or volume or number shall be declared on every food package.
  • Manufacturing date, month and year must be mentioned on the label.
  • A production batch number or manufacturing lot number that is a mark of identification by which the food can be traced in the manufacture and identified in distribution must be mentioned on the label.
  • Best before use or due date must be mentioned on the label.

FSSAI Packaging and Labelling: Recent update

FSSAI has notified in its recent notification that all sweet shops must use labels and display expiry dates on their packed and loose sweets.

OFFENCES AND PENALTIES FOR NON-COMPLIANCE WITH FSSAI

Food industries need to comply with the laws and the guidelines of the FSSAI. Strict penalties would be imposed on the violators in case there is non-compliance of any provision as the matter is concerned with the health and safety of people.

The provisions of penalties are specified under sections 49-67 of the Food Safety and Standards Act,2006.

SECTION 48

Adding, using, subtracting any article, substance to the food that may cause injury to health is considered as non-compliance with FSSAI.

SECTION 49

Deals with adjudging the quantum of penalty.

SECTION 50

Penalty for selling food not of the nature or substance or quality demanded, the person who sells such food will be penalized with an amount not exceeding Rs. Five lakhs.

SECTION 51

This section deals with penalty for selling, storing, or distributing or importing any sub-standard food, such a person shall be liable for a penalty that may extend to Rs. Five lakhs.

SECTION 52

Any person selling, storing, distributing or importing any food article that is misbranded, shall be liable to a penalty that may extend to Rs. 3 lakhs.

SECTION 53

Penalty for misleading advertisement that may deceive or trick with respect to nature, substance or quality or provides dishonest guarantee, penalty shall be imposed that may extend to Rs. 10 lakhs.

SECTION 54

Penalty for selling, storing, distributing or importing food containing extraneous matter may extend to Rs. One lakh.

SECTION 55

Penalty for failure to comply with the directions of food safety officer without any basic or reasonable ground, may extend to Rs. Two lakhs.

SECTION 56

Penalty for manufacturing or processing of food in unhygienic or unsanitary conditions, penalty may extend to Rs.one lakh.

SECTION 57

Penalty for possessing adulterant;

  1. Penalty of amount not more than 2 lakhs if such adulterant is not injurious to health
  2. Penalty of amount not more than 10 lakhs if such adulterant is injurious to health.

SECTION 58

Penalty for contraventions of provisions for which no specific or separate penalty is provided, shall be liable to a penalty that may extend to Rs. Two lakhs.

SECTION 59

Punishment for manufacturing, processing, importing, selling or distributing unsafe food;

  • Shall be punished with imprisonment for a term that may extend to six months along with fine of Rs. One lakh if such contravention or failure on the part of that person does not result in injury.
  • Shall be punished with imprisonment for a term that may extend to one year and shall also be liable for a fine of Rs. Three lakhs, if such contravention or failure on the part of that person, results in injury.
  • Shall be punished with imprisonment for a term that may extend to six years and also shall be liable to a fine that may extend to Rs. Five lakhs if such contravention or failure on the part of that person results in a grievous injury.
  • Shall be punished with imprisonment for a term that shall not be less than seven years but may extend to imprisonment for life and with a fine not less than Rs. 10 lakhs if such contravention or failure on the part of that person results in death.

SECTION 60

This section deals with Punishment for interfering with seized items, if any person without the permission of the Food Safety officer, interferes with seized items he or she shall be punished with imprisonment for a term that may extend to six months and along with fine that may extend to Rs. two lakhs.

SECTION 61

Punishment for providing incorrect, misleading or any false information, such a person shall be punished with imprisonment for term that may extend to three months and with fine that may extend to Rs.2 lakhs.

SECTION 62

Punishment for obstructing, resisting, threatening or assaulting a food safety officer in course of his inspection shall be punished with imprisonment for a term that may extend to three months along with fine that may extend to Rs. One lakh.

SECTION 63

Punishment for carrying out a business without license, such a person will be punished with imprisonment for a duration that may extend to six months and along with fine that shall extend to Rs. Five lakhs.

SECTION 64

Punishment for subsequent offences;

He or she shall be liable to-

  • Cancellation of his or her license
  • If the offence is a continuing one, an additional fine on daily basis which can extend to Rs. One lakh.
  • Twice the punishment, which might have been imposed on first conviction.

SECTION 65

Compensation in case of death or injury to the consumer, the adjudicating officer or the court may direct the offender to pay the compensation to the victim or the legal representative of the victim.

  1. In case of death, not less than five lakhs
  2. In case of grievous injury, not exceeding 3 lakhs
  3. In other cases of injury, not exceeding one lakh

Compensation must be paid within 6 months from the date of occurrence of the incident.

SECTION 66

Offences by companies, every individual in-charge of the company when the offence was committed, shall be held guilty and will be punished accordingly.

SECTION 67

Import of any food article which is in contravention to the act which leads to non-compliance with FSSAI regulations, the violator may be liable under the provisions of the Foreign Trade and Customs Act,1962.

CASE LAW

This case is one of the most notable case from a district in the state of UP. In this case, samples of Maggi noodles were found with excessive lead and MSG and the presence of lead in the noodles was beyond the permissible limit. The FSSAI took cognizance of the matter and directed Nestle India ltd. to withdraw and recall nine variants of Maggi noodles as it contained unsafe and hazardous content for human consumption. The authority further ordered stoppage of production, processing, importing and sale immediately.

The government banned the sale of Maggi noodles from may 2015 across the country. Further, a suit was filed against Nestle India, seeking compensation of 640 crore rupees for non-compliance with FSSAI. However, Nestle India claimed the accusation to be false. Later, a government authorized lab declared the noodles in compliance with the National food safety standards, and later, Bombay High Court also permitted to export Maggi noodles.

CONCLUSION

Packaging and labelling are significant marketing tools that help customers in the decision-making process. When both, packaging and labelling are performed perfectly. It leads to increased sales and profit. Non-compliance with FSSAI is a serious offence. In order to avoid paying hefty penalties, every food business operator must adhere to the FSSAI regulations and guidelines.

REFERENCES

The Consumer Protection Act,2019

https://enterslice.com/learning/fssai-packaging-and-labeling-regulations/

Consumer protection law by Anoop k Kaushal

Supreme court on consumer protection by Surendra malik and Sudeep malik

https://www.corpseed.com/knowledge-centre/Food-Packaging-Laws-And-Regulations

https://dhsr.hp.gov.in/?q=packaging-labelling-regulations-

Aishwarya Says:

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