The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India(FSSAI) has delayed the enforcement of a labeling amendment for Pan Masala products. This is in response to a request from an association for more time to transition to new packaging materials. The deferral will last for three months from the original enforcement date of May 1, 2023, as specified in the Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Second Amendment Regulations, 2022. The Competent Authority has approved this deferral under Section 16 (5) of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. This decision aims to promote sustainable food business practices.
Background and Amendment Details
The Food Safety and Standards (Labeling and Display) Second Amendment Regulations, 2022, published in the Gazette of India on October 11, 2022, introduced changes to the labeling requirements for Pan Masala products. Schedule-II of the regulations included a ‘Note’ specifying that the warning statement must cover 50% of the front-of-pack label. This amendment aimed to enhance consumer awareness and promote responsible consumption of Pan Masala products.
Representation and Request for Extension
Following the publication of the amendment, an association representing the industry raised concerns about the implementation timeline and the need for transitioning to new packaging materials. The association highlighted the challenges faced by businesses in exhausting existing packaging stock, which contained the previous warning statement, and adopting the revised labeling format.
Considering Sustainable Practices
The Food Safety Authority, after careful consideration of the representation, recognized the importance of supporting sustainable practices within the food business sector. Acknowledging the concerns raised by the association, the Authority concluded that granting a temporary deferral of the enforcement would allow businesses to manage their packaging inventories efficiently and facilitate a smoother transition to the new labeling requirements.
Deferral of Enforcement
To accommodate the industry’s needs and facilitate a seamless transition, the Food Safety Authority has decided to defer the enforcement of the ‘Note’ amendment for a period of three months from the scheduled enforcement date of May 1, 2023.
During this period, businesses can continue using the existing packaging stock and gradually introduce the new packaging materials that comply with the revised labeling standards. This deferral aims to provide sufficient time for businesses to adapt their processes, manage inventory, and implement the required changes effectively.
Suffice to say the deferral of the enforcement of the labeling amendment for Pan Masala products reflects the Food Safety Authority’s commitment to balancing regulatory compliance with industry needs. By allowing a temporary extension, businesses will have the opportunity to exhaust existing packaging stock and transition to the revised labeling format in a sustainable manner.
This decision supports the industry’s efforts to maintain smooth operations while ensuring compliance with the revised regulations. The Food Safety Authority remains dedicated to promoting consumer safety and transparency in food labeling practices, and this deferral serves as a pragmatic approach to facilitate a successful transition for businesses in the Pan Masala sector.