India may soon have a shortage of Scotch whisky and other liquors. Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has banned the imports of these popular liquors to India, about 3 months ago. The ban was imposed because of the non-compliance of labelling requirements by the liquor manufacturers. The labelling standards are defined under FSS (Packaging & Labelling) Regulations, 2011.
Till 3 months ago, manufacturers were given interim relief by the authority. However, the sudden action of the authority has got as many as 60 shipments of imported liquor stuck at the customs department, creating a virtual blockage of supply to the Indian market.
As a result, distributors and importers are staring at huge financial losses, while consumers might find it very difficult to find their favourite liquor in the market.
Some liquor importers alleged that they have enough stocks to fulfill the demand for now. However, they fear that if this deadlock is not broken soon, then they will have to contact the manufacturers to comply with the labelling standards.
As per Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, the packing must carry a list of each and every ingredient of the product, except for the products with a single ingredient. The ingredients should also include added water except for products in which water is a part of a particular ingredient.
However, this has led to a deadlock because according to European manufacturers, almost all liquors have only one ingredient and thus, they don’t need to indicate the ingredients on the bottle. For instance, Scotch whisky is produced with fermented grain mixed with water.
Some importers are also claiming that ingredients’ list is not the real issue that’s causing this crisis in the industry. They say that the authorities are creating unnecessary problems by asking for manufacturer’s, bottler’s and distiller’s name and address separately, whereas it is a common knowledge in the industry that a liquor is manufactured, distilled and bottled by the same company, unless it is stated otherwise.
Here’s hoping that things get sorted out soon.