Through a notification dated 13 December, 2017 the FSSAI has issued guidelines related to Food Import clearance process as undertaken by FSSAI Authorised Officers. These guidelines have been issued with regard to the time period for compliance of the labelling requirement of primary foods like food grains, pulses, fruits, dry fruits, whole spices etc. that are imported in packages. An earlier notification dated 9 August, 2016 had given a time frame of six months for compliance of the labelling on primary food imported in packages. FSSAI has now decided to extend the date of compliance for these labelling norms till they issue a notification of the revised Food Safety and Standards (Labelling) Regulations.
The FSSAI notification dated 9 August, 2016 had made some additions to some of the labelling requirements. They had clarified that the name and address of the importer of such consignments can be verified from the documents.
In addition to the mandatory requirement for primary food imported in packages, it was necessary to mention the name of the food, name and complete address of the manufacturers/ packers the date of the packing/manufacturing. FSSAI guidelines had also asked for the following information to be mentioned on the package of primary foods namely
- Net weight
- Lot/Code/Batch Numbers
- Best before date, or Use by date or date of expiry
A period of six months, beginning from August 2016 had been given for compliance of these guidelines. However, now the FSSAI has issued new guidelines where the FSSAI has extended the date of compliance till such time as the Food Safety and Standards (Labelling) Regulations are revised.
About food labelling
Food labelling is important because it serves as a means of communication from the manufacturer or the packer of the food to the distributor, seller, and the consumer. The label serves to introduce the food product to the distributor or the seller so they can target the right consumer or processor of the food and so all the information regarding the product is required so it reaches the right end-user. Through the label the consumer or the processor knows that the product they have purchased is what they wanted or needed. Correct labelling prevents any sort of confusion and also helps to promote sales. Therefore, food laws in all countries have a labelling regulation or law where every article of food must be labelled according to the food laws of the country where it will be used.