Why do Food Companies display Nutritional Information & Weight on Packaged Food?

  • April 18, 2024
  • Dushyant Sharma
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For all the pre-packaged food products sold in India, the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labeling) Regulations, 2011 is applicable. It is a notification issued by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. 

 

Additionally, any packer or manufacturer that sells or distributes pre-packaged products, including food products, has to apply for the packaging license registration of packaged product according to Rule 27 of the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011. This registration is known as the Packaged Commodity Registration.

 

In this article, we will discuss why food companies display nutritional information and weight on packaged food, and the rules and regulations regarding food labeling and packaging in India. 

Applicability of Food Labeling & Packaging Regulations

As per the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labeling) Regulations, 2011, all pre-packaged or pre-packed foods must be in compliance with the labeling regulations in India. Pre-packaged food refers to food placed in a package of any sort in such a way that its contents cannot be altered without tampering, and which is ready to be sold to the customer, according to FSSAI.

 

FSSAI serves as the authority that mandates the food labeling standards. Food producers are required to comply with these standards and obtain a FSSAI license when they introduce a new food product or update its packaging. 

While packaging the food products, the manufacturer needs to keep the legal metrology rules, issued by the Department of Consumer Affairs, in India. These are a set of guidelines which deal with measurements and measuring instruments and are aimed at bringing uniformity and accuracy in weights and measures across all products, including food products. Weights and measures are an intricate part of the food items. 

 

The Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011 were introduced for the regulation of the pre-packaged commodities. According to these rules, pre-packaged products, including food products, are required to comply with certain mandatory requirements with respect to the net quantity, MRP and customer care information. In order to encourage the ease of conducting business activities, amendments in packaged commodities were made in 2017, which harmonized the labeling requirements with respect to the food products with the regulations as laid down under the Food Safety & Standards Regulations (FSSR) 2017.

Basic Labeling Requirements for Food Products in India

All the prepackaged food products sold in India are required to fulfill the general labeling requirements:

  • The language of the label must be English, Hindi or belonging to the devanagari script. Along with the above, the title can contain information in any other language as per the requirements. 
  • The label should not contain any false information about the food product, or information which can be misleading, deceptive or create an erroneous impression about the food product.
  • The label must be attached to the container in such a way that it cannot be easily separated from the container.
  • The information and all the label contents must be stated in a clear, prominent, and easily readable manner for the consumer.
  • If the container is covered by the wrapper, then the wrapper needs to contain the necessary information or make the product’s label inside easily readily by not concealing.
  • The food name needs to be mentioned, along with the trade name as well as the food description.
  • If the food contains more than one ingredient, then a list of ingredients need to be presented in descending order of their composition by weight or volume during the time it is getting manufactured.

 FSSAI Food Labeling and Legal Metrology Packaging Guidelines

For every food manufacturing business, it is essential to understand FSSAI’s guidelines for food labeling. These guidelines play an important role in ensuring that the food products are safe and show correct information to the consumers.

Name of the Food Product

The product must have its name printed on it as per the FSSAI food and labeling standards. Moreover, the product name must be written in an acceptable font and in a manner which is easily understood by the consumer.

The Food Product’s Ingredients List

All the ingredients which have been used at the time of manufacturing the food product must be declared in the labeling. This will enable the consumer to be aware of them. Consumers deserve to know the ingredients of the food product they’re consuming, so that they know such a product is appropriate for consumption in their case.

Nutritional Information regarding the Food Product

The calorie content of the food product must also be included in the labeling. The calorie received from sodium, saturated fat, trans fat, dietary fiber, carbs, iron, sugar, calcium, protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, biotin, etc. must be provided per 100gm or 100ml. Energy value in kcal, amount of protein, fat, carbs, etc. must also be mentioned.

Red Sign for a Non-vegetarian Product & Green Sign Vegetarian Product

It is mandatory to label a product as a non-vegetarian or vegetarian product with red sign and green sign, respectively. A large population of Indians are vegetarians. Hence, it is necessary for them to know whether a product is vegetarian before they can consume it.

Declaration Regarding Food Additives Used

At the time of food production, for the purpose of enhancing the taste, color or preservation of the food product, additives are generally used. These additives must be mentioned at the time of labeling where it can be spotted by the consumer easily.

Name and Full Address of the Manufacturer

The manufacturer must share details regarding his full name and complete address of the location where the food product is created. These details must be mentioned on the label where it can be spotted easily by the consumer.

Customer Care Details

It is crucial as well as a necessity to provide customer care information on the food product label. There are times when consumers contact the customer service of the manufacturer for queries or complaints related to their food product.

Quantity & Net Quantity

The label of the food product must state the exact quantity and net quantity of the food product. 

Maximum Retail Price (MRP)

The Maximum Retail Price (MRP) at which the product is sold must be printed on the food product.

FSSAI Logo and License Number

The label of the food product must mention the logo and license number of FSSAI in a clear and visible manner.

Batch Number

It is mandatory to mention the batch number in the food packaging according to the FSSAI food labeling guidelines. The batch number offers credibility to the manufacturer of the food product. Along with the number number, code and lot number must be listed on the label of the food product.

Date of Manufacturing or Packing & Expiry

It is extremely important for the food manufacturer to mention the manufacturing and expiration date of the food product. If the food product has expired, it means that the consumer cannot consume such a product. There are a lot of health risks associated with consuming expired food.

The Instructions for Use

The manufacturer must mention the directions prescribed to use a particular food product, such as instant noodles. The directions must be mentioned in a clear and visible manner in the appropriate language.

Why are Food Labeling and Packaging Requirements crucial?

In recent years, the health concerns regarding packaged foods have witnessed a drastic rise. This is why food labeling requirements by FSSAI are extremely important. These requirements are mandatory and the food manufacturers need to comply with these requirements to avoid legal consequences. These requirements ensure the health of the consumers. Since the consumers can refer to the information on the food product’s packaging, they can find out whether such a product is good for consumption for them or not. Let’s take an example: if a food packaging states that the product contains gelatin, many vegetarians would not eat such a product. Let’s take another similar example: if a product contains milk, then a person who is lactose intolerant would avoid it.

 

Once a food product is ready to be sold in the market, it must have a proper packaging and labeling with information about the ingredients, calories, date of manufacture, and so on. 

 

To ensure that people get what they pay for, it is important to mention the weight of such a packaged food product. Due to the legal metrology rules, business ethics are encouraged. Without the presence of such rules, there would be a lot of unfair practices. Imagine buying a packet of 1kg rice which contains 900 grams of rice? Without the legal metrology rules, we would be able to do nothing about it. The expectation and reality would not meet each other.

Conclusion

When it comes to the packaging of food products, both Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labeling) Regulations, 2011 and Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011 are important. These rules and regulations help the consumers to get what they pay for. Businesses dealing in the packaging of food require FSSAI License as well as the legal metrology packaging registration. If you own a food business and are interested in obtaining these licenses, connect with Registrationwala.

 


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Dushyant Sharma
Author: Dushyant Sharma

Hey there, I'm Dushyant Sharma. With the extensive knowledge I've gained in past 8 years, I have been creating content on various subjects such as banking, insurance, telecom, and all the important registration and licensing processes for various companies. I'm here to help everyone with my expertise in these areas through my articles.

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