Food Labelling Requirements

Know more about Food Labelling Requirements as per FSSAI

Food Labelling is one of the inherent components of public nutrition. It acts as one of the major links between the food packer or manufacturer and the seller, distributor, and consumer. Labelling is one of the ways through which a manufacturer or the seller introduces his product to the distributor or the target consumer by sharing relevant information about the product clearly and precisely mentioned on the label.

Labelling and its Significance

It is very important to comply with the food labelling requirements as per FSSAI guidelines. It is not only required as per the laws of the country but also renders a lot of advantages to the manufacturers. Here are some of the food labelling requirements.

  1. Ensuring clear and precise food labelling requirements help manufacturers to impress their end customers. They are able to take a proper decision about using a specific product after going through the label. Thus, having a proper and correct label help a manufacturer promote the sale of this product.
  2. Every packaged food product needs to have proper labelling as per the Food Laws. This labelling must be done as per the laws applicable in the country, that is, the Food Safety Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations 2011. The same has been notified by FSSAI or the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India.
  3. If a food product is being exported to another country, it must be labeled as per the food laws of the country where the product is being exported. The regulations of that country will apply here.

The laws and regulations are formulated to safeguard the interests of the consumer. As a result, the Food Safety Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011 came into existence. According to these regulations, every food product that is being packaged must have a label containing the following information-

  1. The food name
  2. Ingredients List
  3. Nutritional Information
  4. Food Additives Declaration
  5. Non-veg or veg Declaration
  6. Packers or manufacturer’s complete name and address
  7. Net quantity
  8. Packing or Manufacturing date
  9. Lot No./Code No./Batch No.
  10. Best Before Date or Use Before Date
  11. For Imported Food, Country of Origin
  12. Instructions for use

Additional Information on the Label

Besides sharing the above-mentioned information, the packer or the manufacturer also need to share some additional information. He also needs to ensure that the information shared on the label is in compliance with the general labeling requirements as prescribed as per the regulations. The label must be firmly stuck on the container and should not easily get separated from its surface, correct content must be used on the label, content should be readily legible and clear in Hindi or English language, etc.

What happens if food labeling is not correct?

It is very important to check and inspect any labelling defect in advance. A thorough visual inspection can help you spot any defects in the label and corrective action taken. For the identification of labelling defects, there is no need for a laboratory analysis of the sample or an analysis report. If there is no proper label on the food product as per the regulations or it lacks the complete information about the food product or the product is available for sale with misleading, false or deceptive claims, it is going to be considered and treated as misbranded food. Such cases may attract following penalties-

Different Offences and Penalties

  • In the case of misbranded food, the penalty may be up to Rs. 3 Lakh
  • In case of a misleading advertisement, the penalty may be up to Rs. 10 Lakh

The labelling defect is easy to be noticed by a consumer can visually inspect the label and spot the defects. This not only creates a suspicion about the quality of the product but also create legal implications.

  • If the regulator notices any labelling defect when inspecting the food packages, it creates suspicion about the quality of the food product in his mind and he may decide to take the sample of the food product for laboratory analysis and get its quality checked.
  • If the sample food product sent for laboratory testing and analysis is found to be non-compliant with the standards set by the regulatory authority, the food product may be declared as low in quality or sub-standard. It may also be declared as misbranding which may result in prosecution for the packer or manufacturer.

The above-mentioned penalties clearly indicate the repercussions of incorrect or defective labelling. The product may get shrouded in suspicion about its quality and it may send negative signals to the consumers. The regulators may indulge in an in-depth quality check of the product and it may lead to prosecution. Thus, it is important to pay attention to the food product labelling requirements as per the regulations.

Food Business Operator Must Take Care of the Following

The above-mentioned information clearly indicates the significance of having correct labelling for a Food Business Operator. In the case of an incorrect label on the food package or if it is not found in accordance with the regulations, the Food Business Operators may have to face penalties and implications of the FSS Acts.

The Food Business Operator must provide requisite and correct information on the label. He must ensure that the food product being offered for sale is a quality product and the same is reflected on its label. The stress on labelling and packaging has increased in the past few years to help the consumers gain information about what they are consuming. They must know that the product bought by them is high in quality and safe for consumption. The Act and regulations help safeguard their interests and ensure safe consumption of packaged food items.

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