The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has ordered all sweet seller owner to display the ”best before date” and ” date of manufacturing” on unpacked or loose sweets kept in a container or tray for sale at their outlets with effect from 01st June 2020. This step was taken by FSSAI after reports of instances of sale of decayed/expired sweets to consumers posing potential health hazards. This initiation will help in ensuring that the consumers are buying fresh produce from the sweet shops.
Why the need for displaying best before and manufacturing date by Sweet Seller arises?
The order comes in the wake of growing complaints filed by the consumers with the food safety authority regarding the sale of stale and expired sweets pose a great concern over their health. In India, there is a large number of sweet shops who sells various sweets packed and unpacked in huge quantity on a daily basis. While the packed products display the best before and manufacturing date but the loose and unpacked sweets are sold without any directive. Therefore, keeping in view of consumer’s health and safety, India’s Food Regulator FSSAI had issued this order. According to the food authority FSSAI, the decision was taken to ensure that by consuming such products the consumers do not pose a potential health hazard. This measure has been taken to control the problems of adulteration and the use of sub-standard products.
The directive issued by the FSSAI on Milk/Dairy Products
According to the directive issued by the food authority FSSAI, traditional milk-based sweets are generally prepared from khoya, chhena, sugar and other ingredients such as maida, flavors, and colors e.g. peda, burfi, milk cake, gulab jamun, rasgulla, rasmalai, etc. Sweets have a limited shelf life. Sweets particularly those with milk products have a lesser shelf life and are more prone to health hazards. Therefore sanitation and hygiene in their preparation and consumption within shelf life are of utmost importance.
What does the order say to Sweet Seller?
In an Order dated 24th February 2020 the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (“FSSAI”) has issued directions to all the Sweet Seller regarding the display of “Manufacturing Date” and “Best Before Date” in case unpacked Sweets
This Order will come into force from 1st June, 2020.
Explaining the new order, Parveen Jargar, Joint Director, Regulatory Compliance division, FSSAI, pointed out that several complaints were received by FSSAI about stale sweets being sold to customers by many sweet shops in the country and while the pre-packaged food products do mention ‘Date of Manufacturing’ and ‘Best Before Date,’ same was not happening in case of sweets sold loosely.
“In the case of pre-packed sweets, the ‘Manufacturing Date’ and ‘Best Before Date’ of the products must be mentioned on their labels as per the FSS Packaging and Labelling Regulations, 2011. Therefore keeping in view of public interest, and to safeguard food safety of loosely sold sweets, it was decided that non- packaged sweets should also carry Date of Manufacturing and Best Before Date on the container and this directive will be effective from June 1, 2020,” he said.
To make it a healthy and effective practice, the FSSAI has directed all food businesses involved in manufacturing and open sales of sweets to obey the order and had also urged the state food safety departments to ensure compliance with this directive.
What is the Sweet Sellers reaction? Are they happy?
Sweet Sellers are however not impressed with FSSAI order as they say that these rules are hard to implement. According to shop owners, it is difficult to put a label on each category of sweets because of varying shelf lives.
According to Mr. Firoz H. Naqvi, Director, Federation of Sweets and Namkeen Manufacturers (FSNM), said the directive has come as a surprise for the industry. “Only 5-10 percent of traditional Indian sweets are packaged and the majority of them are sold in loose form. An outlet, on average, has as many as 200 varieties of sweets to sell, which are made from different kinds of ingredients and therefore have different duration of shelf life. While we agree with the intent of this order and that it is in consumers’ interest, implementing this norm on the ground will be very challenging,” he said.
He further stated that “We will be writing to FSSAI to inform them about these challenges and hope to work towards a more practical solution in this regard,”
This order will surely ensure the availability of quality sweets as for customers like us this is a piece of positive news as it is concerned with the safety of our health but for all the Sweet Seller this may not go down well as the majority of their sweets are sold in loose form and it will be a difficult task for them to label the sweets as per there shelf lives.