Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is an autonomous body established by the Government of India under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. It usually sets standards for food so that there is no chaos in the minds of consumers, traders, manufacturers and investors.
In the food and beverage packaging, there is one important aspect called food labeling. On the food labeling, there are crucial aspects related to the product and even of the producer. The information is usually for the safety of the consumer and it is mandatory that every packaged food article has to be labeled and it shall provide the following information
In this article, we shall discuss on "FSSAI Guidelines on Labeling of Food Products". Hence, the various characteristics which should be mentioned are:
• Name of the food:
Name of the food/product is one of the first FSSAI Guidelines on Labeling of Food Products. As the name suggests, the name of the food product should be in clear format on the packaged product in clear font.
• List of Ingredients:
List of Ingredients means the elements which have been utilized for making the final product. It is very necessary that the manufacturer mentions all the ingredients fairly and do not cheat the end-consumer. The manufacturer can land in problem if tends to cheat the consumer.
• Nutritional Information:
Nutritional Information means the calories which gets from fats, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, sugars, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron present in the product. The calories are mentioned on all the products labels.
• Declaration regarding Vegetarian or Non-Vegetarian:
India is land where the eating of non-vegetarian for some is against the religious practices. Hence, according to the FSSAI Guidelines on Labeling of Food Products, the manufacturer on the label should mention whether the product is vegetarian or non-vegetarian.
Whether the product is vegetarian or non-vegetarian can easily be known by just looking at the small sign present on the corner of the label. Green color indicates the product being vegetarian and red color indicates that the product is non-vegetarian.
• Declaration regarding Food Additives:
Food additives are substances which are added to food in order to preserve flavor or enhance its taste and appearance. Hence, it is very necessary to give a declaration regarding the additives added on the label or the package.
• Name and Address of the Manufacturer:
In this, the name of the manufacturer and place of the manufacturing is usually mentioned. The manufacturer has to give complete address of his factory which includes street address, city, state, and zip code. Without mentioning any of these, products can be considered fake in the market.
• Net Quantity:
Net Quantity is also FSSAI Guidelines on Labeling of Food Products. Net Quantity here refers to the weight of the product. The weight of the product and the packaging weight are usually combined together and then mentioned in the Net Quantity.
• Code No. /Lot No. /Batch No:
A batch number or code number or lot number is a mark of recognition through which the food can be found in the manufacture and even recognized in the distribution. Therefore Code No. /Lot No. /Batch No should be definitely mentioned by the manufacturer according to FSSAI Guidelines on Labeling of Food Products.
• Date of Manufacture and Best before & Use by Date:
The date of manufacture is when the product has been manufactured and Best Before & Use By Date means by what date and month should the product be consumed. If the product is consumed after expiry date, it usually can harm the health of the human.
The consumer also should check Date of Manufacture and Best before & Use by Date before purchasing the product.
• Country of Origin for Imported Food:
The country of origin of goods means the nationality of imported goods and even refers to the area where such goods have grown up or have been produced, manufactured or processed.
According to the FSSAI Guidelines on Labeling of Food Products, this also should be mentioned.
• Instructions for Use:
According to FSSAI Guidelines on Labeling of Food Products, the Instructions for Use should be mandatorily mentioned. As the name suggests, it usually instructing or guiding the consumer on how to utilize the product.
Food Labeling serves as a primary link of communication between the manufacturer and packer of food on the one hand and distributor, seller, and user or consumer on the other hand. By way of labeling the manufacturer introduces his product to his distributor or seller and to the target consumer or user of his product by providing all the information regarding his product on the label.
The manufacturer can impress the consumer or its target user that it is the product of his choice, which suits him/her according to his/her needs. Thereby, the correct and required labeling undoubtedly promotes the sale of his product.
As per Food Laws every packaged food article has to be labeled and it has to be labeled in accordance to the law applicable in the country of the user. Every packaged food article for the domestic use has to be labeled in accordance to the related Indian Food Law i.e. Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labeling) Regulations, 2011, notified by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
The packaged food for export has to be labeled in accordance to the food laws and regulations applicable to the importing country.
In order to safe guard the interest of the consumer, The Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labeling) Regulations, 2011, provides that every packaged food article has to be labeled and it shall provide the following information –
- The name of Food
- List of Ingredients,
- Nutritional Information,
- Declaration regarding Veg or non-veg,
- Declaration regarding Food Additives,
- Name and complete address of the manufacturer or packer
- Net Quantity,
- Code No,/Lot No./Batch No.,
- Date of manufacture or packing,
- Best Before and Use By Date,
- Country of Origin for imported food and
- Instructions for use
In addition to the above information the manufacturer or the packer has to also ensure that the label complies with the general requirements of labeling prescribed under the regulations I.e. the label should not become separated from the container, contents on the label shall be correct, clear and readily legible and shall be in English or Hindi language, etc.
It is very easy to notice the defect in labeling through visual inspection and there is no need to send the sample for analysis and no analysis report is required to identify the labeling defects. If the food product is not labeled in accordance to the regulations or it does not provide the required complete information or the food product is promoted for sale with false, misleading or deceptive claims then it is considered as misbranded food and attracts the penalties as given below-
OFFENCES & PENALTIES
- Misbranded Food Up to 3lakh rupee
- Misleading advertisement Up to 10lakh rupees
The consumer can notice the labeling defect easily through visual inspection and that may create suspicion about the quality of the product also in the mind of the consumer.
If during food inspection the regulator notices any labeling defect then it creates doubt in the mind of the regulator about the quality of the food product also and invariably the sample of such food product is taken and sent for analysis for the check of its quality also.
If on analysis the sample is found non-complying to the standards then the food product is declared as substandard besides misbranding and prosecution is launched for substandard and also for misbranding i.e. labeling defect. Even if the sample is found confirming to standards, the prosecution is launched for misbranding.
From the above discussion, it is clear that on one hand the correct and appropriate labeling convince the user that it is the product for him/her and he/she should buy it and indirectly promotes the sale of the product. On the other hand incorrect and incomplete labeling makes the food product misbranded, suspicious of its quality and attracts the attention of the regulators for its quality check and further leads to prosecution.
In view of above, the Food Business Operator can understand the importance of correct labeling and if the label declaration is incorrect and not in accordance to the regulations then the FBOs have to face the implications of the FSS acts.
The Food Business Operator is responsible for providing the correct and requisite information on the label to the consumers. Considering the importance of correct labeling, we have made this course for awareness of the Food Business Operators on labeling of packaged food products in accordance to food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labeling) Regulations, 2011, notified by FSSAI which is effective in India i.e. August 5, 2011. This Packaging and labeling Regulations are summarized in the following modules:
- General Requirements and Manner of labeling
- The name of Food and List of Ingredients,
- Nutritional Information,
- Declaration regarding Veg or Non-veg,
- Declaration regarding Food Additives,
- Name of Manufacturer or packer and Country of Origin
- Net Quantity
- Lot No. /Batch No. /Code No.
- Date of manufacture or packing and Best Before or Use By Date,
- Instructions for Use
- Specific Requirements and Manner of labeling for Infant Milk Substitute and Infant Foods
- Specific labeling Requirements of edible oils and fats, permitted food colors and irradiated foods
- Specific Requirements and Manner of labeling of Other Food Products
- Specific Restrictions on product labels and advertisement
- Exemptions from labeling requirements
“Labeling means to introduce a product for sale by providing comprehensive information about the product to the target consumer market besides ensuring safety standards of the regulatory body. Useful elaborated information about the label leaves good impression on the consumers seeking required details about the product”
PS – This is the module 1 of the 15 modules free e-course on food labeling in compliance with the Food Safety and Standards Act. In the next module, we will discuss the general requirements of food labeling and share how the product & other information have to be mentioned on the label.
Once you register and subscribe to the course, we will send you the first module on the third day from the registration and the subsequent modules will be sent in the similar pattern i.e. with a gap of two days.