According to laws stated in India, the manufacturers and importers of packaged commodities are obliged to showcase details about the product like its net quantity, weight, price, manufacturer’s name, importer’s details, and other important information. This rule comes under the purview of the Legal Metrology Act, 2009 (Legal Metrology Act) and the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Guidelines. This post highlights all the rules and guidelines that govern the packaging of agricultural commodities for packers, manufacturers, and importers.
So, now, look at them below.
The Legal Metrology Act is designed to set up and promote standards related to weighing and measurement, and govern trade and commerce in weights, and other commodities that are meant to be traded on the basis of their weight and measurement. The rules defined under this act are applicable to any deal, transaction, or association in regard to the good, category or activities done on the basis of weight, quantity, or numeric figures.
The rules and guidelines stated under the Legal Metrology Act do not apply to (a) packages of commodities containing a quantity of more than 25 kilograms or 25 liters; (b) cement, fertilizer and agricultural farm produce sold in bags above 50 kilograms; and (c) packaged commodities meant for industrial consumers or institutional consumers.
As per the Packaged Commodities Rules, every package must carry the following declaration:
(a) Name and address of the manufacturer, or where the manufacturer is not the packer, the name, and address of the manufacturer and packer. In the case of an imported package, the name and address of the importer, and the name of the country of origin or manufacture or assembly should be mentioned on the package.
(b) Common or generic names of the commodity contained in the package. Further, in case the package has more than one product, the name and number or quantity of each product should be mentioned on the package.
(c) Net quantity of the commodity contained in the package, in terms of the standard unit of weight or measure and the number of commodities contained in the package where the commodity is packed or sold by number.
(d) Month and year in which the commodity is manufactured or pre-packed or imported shall be mentioned in the package. However, with effect from 01 April 2022 only the month and year in which the commodity is manufactured is required to be mentioned. Package containing a commodity which may become unfit for human consumption after a period of time, the such package should mention the ‘best before or use by the date, month and year’. Case of packages containing food articles, cosmetics and seeds shall be governed by the provisions of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954, Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945 and Seeds Act, 1966 respectively.
(e) The retail sale price of the package clearly indicates that it is the maximum retail price inclusive of all taxes, and the price in rupees and paise be rounded off to the nearest rupee or 50 paise. However, with effect from 01 April 2022, the retail sale price of the package should clearly indicate that it is the maximum retail price inclusive of all taxes in Indian currency. In case of packages containing alcoholic beverages or spirituous liquor, the state excise laws and the rules made there under shall be applicable within the state in which it is manufactured and where the state excise laws and rules made there under do not provide for declaration of the retail sale price, the provisions of Packaged Commodities Rules shall apply.
Further, if the retail sale price of any essential commodity is fixed and notified by the competent authority under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 the same shall apply.
(f) In case of commodities in which size is relevant, the package should mention the dimensions of the commodity contained in the package. If the dimensions of different pieces are different, the dimensions of each such piece should be mentioned.
(g) Name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address of the person who can be or the officer who can be contacted, in case of consumer complaints.
(h) A commodity consisting of a number of components and the components are packed in two or more units, for sale as a single commodity, the declaration mentioned from (a) to (f) above shall appear on the main package and such package shall also carry information about the other accompanying packages or such declaration may be given on individual packages and intimation to that effect may be given on the main package. Further, if the components are sold as spare parts, all declarations shall be given on each package.
(i) Package containing genetically modified food should bear the word “GM” at the top of its principal display panel.
(j) Package containing soap, shampoos, toothpaste and other cosmetics and toiletries should bear a red or brown dot for products of non-vegetarian origin and a green dot for products of vegetarian origin, on the top of its principal display panel. It is to be noted that the same was challenged by Indian Beauty and Hygiene Associate before the Bombay High Court wherein the Bombay High Court relying on the judgment of the Supreme Court in Indian Soaps and Toiletries Makers Association v. Ozair Husain and Others, held that the power to amend the provision with respect to declarations of labels of cosmetics or drugs rested with the center under the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945 in consultation with the drugs technical advisory board only.
(k) An e-commerce entity should ensure that the mandatory declarations mentioned above are displayed on the digital and electronic network used for e-commerce transactions except for the month and year of manufacturing or packaging of the commodity.
(l) Where the package contains sheets like aluminium foil, facial tissue, waxed paper, toilet paper or other type of sheets, the declaration of quantity on the package should also include a statement as to the number of usable sheets contained in the package and the dimensions of each such sheet.
(m) Where the package contains commodities like bedsheets, hemmed fabric materials, dhotis, sarees, napkins, pillow covers, towels, tables clothes or other similar type of commodities, the number and the dimensions of the finished size of such commodities should be declared on the package or on the label affixed thereto. Further, where the package contains more than one piece of different dimensions, the package shall also contain a declaration as to the dimensions and the retail sale price of each such piece. The dimensions of the commodities and the sale price thereof shall also be marked on each individual piece.
(n) In the case of agricultural farm produce, the packages of up to 50kg come under the purview of the Legal Metrology Rules, 2011. According to this, the product manufacturers and packers are allowed to create packages of weight not exceeding 50 Kg. This arises the need of an awareness program for manufacturers and packers that they should pack their agricultural farm produce up to 50Kg as per the rules.
Import process refers to bringing any product in India from other countries and the person who do this is known as an importer. According to the Legal Metrology (General) Rules, 2011, he has to obtain a Legal Metrology Packaging Registration Certificate. The application for this certificate is made to the Director or Controller of the central Metrology Department, New Delhi.
For registration, the applicant needs to draft and submit an application to the Director or the Controller of Legal Metrology along with the applicable charges of INR 500. This application needs to be submitted within 90 days of the start of the pre-packaging. The application must have the name and address of the application among with the full commodity details. The application for registration of manufacturers/ packers/ importers under rule 27 of the Packaged Commodities Rules can be performed online on this portal - https://lm.doca.gov.in
The rules and regulations defined under the Legal Metrology Act are intended to pass on the benefit to both the traders and consumers. The act also defines the guidelines related to the import and export of pre-packaged items. If look forward to an easy-going business, you ought to have well-defined a consumer and buyer rights protection system. For this, you need to adhere to the rules defined under the Legal Metrology Act. For more details, you can consult our experts at registrationwala.com, which is a top-rated business services provider in India.