The FSSAI has clarified that the order prescribing the mention of ‘Best Before’ label on trays carrying sweets meant for open sale, is for ‘Indian sweets only.’
The FSSAI order, addressed to all the Central licensing authorities and state Food Safety Commissioners, says, “It is clarified that the said order is applicable for Indian sweets only and FBOs are permitted to display the mandatory ‘Best Before Date’ and ‘Date of Manufacturing’ (voluntary and non-binding) on the container carrying sweets for sale.”
The labels can also be written in local language, the order stated.
The order came into force from October 1, vide the one issued by the FSSAI on September 25, 2020, wherein the apex food regulator has stated that in public interest and to ensure food safety, it has been decided that in case of non-packaged or loose sweets, the container or tray holding sweets at the outlet, for sale should display, ‘Best Before Date’ mandatorily with effect from October 1, 2020.
In addition, the FSSAI’s order said that the FBOs can also display ‘Date of Manufacturing’ which shall be ‘purely voluntary and non-binding’.
FSSAI’s order has asked the FBOs to decide the ‘Best Before Date’ of sweets depending upon the nature of the product and local conditions. However, an indicative list of shelf life of various types of sweets is given in the guidance note on Safety of Traditional Milk Products.
The food regulator has asked all the Food Safety Commissioners to ensure compliance of the order.
Earlier in July, the FSSAI had urged the food associations to conduct awareness workshops and capacity building for FBOs involved in manufacturing and sale of unpacked sweets, as the implementation date of the order seeking display of ‘date of manufacturing’ and ‘best before’ on containers, was fixed for October 1.
The earlier date of implementation of the order was August 1, which was extended from June 1, 2020, due to Covid-19 pandemic.
The decision to ask FBOs to carry ‘date of manufacturing and best before’ was taken after the food authority got complaints about stale sweets sold to customers in many parts of the country.
In March this year, FSSAI had also issued a ‘Guidance Note’ for food businesses to ensure hygiene and sanitation in manufacturing and sale of milk products, particularly, sweets. This was done after a survey conducted by the FSSAI in Delhi NCR found issues of sanitation and hygiene in manufacturing and sale of unpacked sweets and savouries