With rising concerns over health risks involved in consumption of packaged food, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India is in discussion with the government to tighten labeling rules and make it mandatory for companies to clearly mention the dates of manufacturing, best before use and expiry.
Labelling has become a major concern for the regulatory approval in US as well. Recently, USFDA rejected 2,100 batches of Indian snacks from big brands like Hadirams, Britannia and Nestle due to non-adherence to proper labelling norms.
The amendments may be applicable to bread, dhokla, bhel puri, pizza, khoa, paneer, packaged fruits, vegetables, meat and fish.
At present, companies are required to label only two dates--manufacturing date and the expiry or the best before use date. FSSAI wants all three to be mandatory.
Sources told that FSSAI is in discussion with the government to amend the Food Safety and Standards Rules of 2011 to tighten and overall the labelling rules across categories in food products. The move will ensure that the best before use date is always before the expiry date of a food product.
The best before date on the food packets ensures that the nutrient value in food remains intact as once the product exceeds the best before date its nutrient value starts falling even though it may still be edible. However, on passage of the expiry date the product is no more edible.