The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has urged food associations in the country 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, is coming closer. Giving a month extra, the order will now come into force from October 1, 2020. The earlier date was August 1, which was extended from June 1, 2020, due to Covid-19 pandemic. “Sweets associations are advised to sensitise and build capacity of their members to implement the order from October 1, 2020,” reads the order issued by FSSAI. The FSSAI through an order has given the final extension for the implementation, saying, ‘in view of disruption and lockdown due to Covid pandemic and representation received from sweets associations and stakeholders, it has been decided to give final extension to the date of enforcement for display of ‘Date of Manufacturing’ and ‘Best Before Date’ of non-packaged/loose sweets on their container/try at the outlet for the sale from August 1 to October 1, 2020.’ FSSAI has extended the date for complying with directions regarding display of ‘Date of Manufacturing’ and ‘Best Before Date’ for sweets sold loose, thrice thus far. An official with the FSSAI said, “Keeping in view the general public health and food safety, it was decided not to further extend the dates for implementation of this order seeking non-packaged or loosely sold sweets, carrying ‘Date of Manufacturing’ and ‘Best Before Date’ of the product.” 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. FSSAI has maintained that while in case of pre-packaged sweets, the ‘Date of Manufacturing’ and ‘Best Before Date’ of the products must be mentioned on their labels as per the FSS (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, however there was no such provision for products such as sweets sold loose. Therefore to ensure food safety of the loosely sold sweets, it was decided that non-packaged sweets should also carry Date of Manufacturing and Best Before Date on the container. It is pertinent to mention here that 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 FSSAI in Delhi NCR found issues of sanitation and hygiene in manufacturing and sale of unpacked sweets and savouries. The ‘note’ stated that ‘The packaging and labelling requirements are often neglected by FBOs selling unpacked sweets. It was suggested in the guidance note that in case of non-packaged/loose sweets, the container/tray holding the items at the outlet should display the following information: ‘Best before or use by date and whether Oil/Ghee/Vanaspati’ is used