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This article is written by Risabh Dasgupta pursuing Diploma in M&A, Institutional Finance, and Investment Laws (PE and VC transactions) from LawSikho.

Introduction

If there’s a business, there will be compliances. The same applies to all food businesses operating in India. The Food Safety Standards Authority of India (the “FSSAI”) is the legal regulatory body in India, established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (hereinafter referred to as the “FSS Act” or “FSS Act, 2006”), which governs all food-related businesses operating in India and ensures the availability of safe wholesome food for human consumption.

The FSS Act, 2006 was enacted to establish a one-stop regulatory destination for all matters relating to food safety and standards. To this effect, various legislations like Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954, Milk and Milk Products Order, 1992, Vegetable Oil Products (Control) Order, 1947, Fruit Products Order, 1955, Edible Flour (Control) Order, 1967 etc. were repealed on 5th August, 2011 after commencement of the FSS Act.

Unboxing a gamut of food law compliances applicable for all kinds of food businesses operating in India under one article will not only be a tedious task but would also end up confusing the readers! Thus, this article would aim at comprehensively educating the readers about the categories of food businesses in India and their registration process and unbox just the food safety, legal metrology, and consumer protection compliances specific to businesses involved in the manufacturing, retail, and sale of ‘packaged-food products’ in India.

Licensing and registration of business

  1. Nature of ‘food business’

The FSSAI licenses and registrations are broadly issued under eleven (11) heads (each a “Kind of Business” or “KoB” and each KoB further branches out into several Sub-KoB’s that captures the different kinds of food business activities a business may be running in India) namely:

  • Manufacturer

Processing/manufacturing vegetable oil, dairy products, meat products, novel food products, and all such other food processing units including re-packers.

  • Trade or retail 

If conducting food business activities such as wholesale, retail, storage, transportation, distribution, supply, food vending agencies, and marketing.

  • Food Services 

If the food business is involved in activities related to the preparation and serving of fresh food and drinks such as hotels, restaurants, club/canteens, mobile food vendors, etc.

  • Central government agencies

If conducting food business activities i.e. canteen/catering services, wholesale, retail, storage, distribution of food products at central government premises.

  • Airport or seaport

If conducting ‘trade or retail’ or ‘food services’ kind of business at an airport or seaport. 

  • Railways

If conducting ‘trade/retail’ or ‘food services’ kind of business at railway premises.

  • Importer

If a food business is involved in importing food items including food ingredients and additives for commercial use.

  • Exporters

If the food business is involved in exporting food products to other countries. There have often been concerns from exporting manufacturers specific to importing countries seeking FSSAI Food Licenses and Product Approvals even though the exporters are required to comply with food standards and specifications of the importing country and not that of India. To this effect, clarifications were issued by FSSAI back in 2015 vide Order No. 1-351/FSSAI/Imports/2013 with respect to granting of a license for exporting food business operators.

  • Mid-day meal

If the business is engaged in food business activities such as food canteen/catering services for the mid-day meal scheme programme of India.

  • E-commerce

If the food business is being conducted through an e-commerce platform.

  • Head office

If food business activities are carried out in more than one State with the same company/organisation name.

For the ease of understanding, refer to the following example

  • The “trade/retail” is a KoB that further branches out into specific “trade/retail” activities which include retail, wholesale, distribution, storage, transport, food vending agencies, supplying, and marketing.
  • Assuming that a food business is into the activity of i) marketer and storage kind of business and ii) sells its products on e-commerce platforms, it shall accordingly apply for an e-commerce license along with a marketer and storage license/registration under ‘trade/retail’ while filling out its licence/registration application. Once the license/registration application is issued by FSSAI, the license/registration would reflect your Kind of Businesses as below:

Which FSSAI licenses/registration do you need and how do you procure it?

  1. FSSAI issues three (3) types of food business registration namely – i) Basic Registration, ii) State License and iii) Central License. All food businesses in India need to mandatorily apply for it, as required under Regulation 2.1 of the FSS (Licensing and Registration of Business) Regulations, 2011 (“FSS Registration Regulations”), without which the business will be deemed to be illegally operating in India.
  2. All licenses and registrations are obtained/modified/renewed and or transferred by a food business through the Food Safety Compliance System (“FoSCoS”) which is a cloud based online regulatory platform developed and operated by the FSSAI.
  3. Basic registration: All food businesses not operating on a large scale having an annual turnover of INR 12 lakhs will need a FSSAI registration. 
  4. Licenses: Whether the business will need a state license or a central license will be based on their scale of business or the business turnover. The ‘Manufacturer–Kind of Business’ licenses and storage and transportation license under the ‘Trade/Retail–Kind of Business’, are determined based on the scale of the business activity i.e. the production capacity of the manufacturers and the storage and transportation capacity of the traders or retailers. The remaining KoBs are granted their license basis the annual turnover in accordance with the following: 
  • State license: Annual turnover exceeding INR 12 lakhs but is less than INR 20 crores per annum.
  • Central license: Annual turnover exceeding INR 20 crores per annum.

Key provisions under FSS (Licensing and Registration of Business) Regulations, 2011

  1. Licenses or registrations are granted without any preliminary physical audit or inspection of the food business but based on certain information and documents one needs to provide to FSSAI while submitting its application in FoSCoS along with a declaration that all information and documents furnished are true and correct.
  2. Thus, once the license/registration is granted it shall be deemed that the business complies of:
    • All conditions of license as provided under Annexure 3 in Schedule 2 such as having a Food Safety Display Board (FSDB) at their place of business, ensuring that the business is not processing/storing/manufacturing/selling, etc. any product besides the food products which are indicated in the license/ registration is manufactured/processed/stored/sold, etc in the place of business, etc.; and 
    • The safety, sanitary and hygienic requirements of conducting a food business as provided in Schedule 4 of FSS Registration Regulations which is further bifurcated into different parts depending on the nature of business and their activities. Based on the KoBs reflected in the license/registration issued to the business, the business needs to accordingly comply with applicable parts of Annexure 3 of Schedule 2 and Schedule 4 of FSS Registration Regulations. 
    • All food products if manufactured by a business must comply with the standards laid down under the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011.
  3. Food Safety Officers (“FSO”) appointed under the FSS Act have the power vested in them to enter the licensed premises and check for compliances which the business declared to be complying with under their license application submitted to FSSAI. In the event, the FSO finds the business to be in non-compliance with Annexure 3 of Schedule 2 and Schedule 4 of the FSS Registration they shall issue an improvement notice as per Section 32 of the FSS Act (“Improvement Notice”) directing the food business to comply with the Improvement Notice within a reasonable period, not being less than fourteen (14) days. 
  1. If the food business fails to comply with the requirements under the Improvement Notice, the FSO shall have the authority to suspend such license/registration granted to the food business after recording a brief statement of the reasons for such suspension.
  2. If the food business still fails to be in compliance with the Improvement Notice, the FSO may, after giving the licensee an opportunity to show cause, ultimately cancel the licence granted to the business.
  3. Food businesses aggrieved by such suspension or cancellation order may file an appeal to the FSO or the Food Safety Commissioner, in accordance with the provisions stipulated in Section 31(8) and Section 32 (4) of the FSS Act. 

Annual reports

Food businesses who are engaged in food business activities, other than milk and/or milk products, holding a state or central license are required to file their annual returns under Form D1 (Annual Returns) before 31st May of every year and business engaged in the business of manufacturing and/or importing milk and/or milk products shall furnish a half-yearly returns under  Form D2 by 30th September and 21st March of every year as per Regulation 2.1.13 of the FSS Registration Regulations.

Packaging and labelling of products

Brief introduction

All food businesses having a product range of packaged food commodities need to ensure that their packaged food is in compliance with the packaging and labelling requirements as envisaged under the FSS (Packaging and Labelling) Regulation, 2011 for adhering to the packaging norms envisaged by FSSAI and FSS (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2020 for being compliant with the labelling and display norms of a packaged food product.

It is pertinent to mention for the avoidance of confusion that FSS (Packaging and Labelling) Regulation, 2011 will soon be held redundant in its entirety after FSS (Packaging) Regulations, 2018 is enforced in law by way of a gazette notification. Due to wide and detailed array of compliances to be met individually with respect to both the packaging and labelling of packaged commodities, FSSAI decided to split and bifurcate the FSS (Packaging and Labelling) Regulation, 2011 into two (2) separate regulations namely: 

  1. FSS (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2020 (“Labelling Regulations 2020”); and
  2. FSS (Packaging) Regulations, 2018 (“Packaging Regulations 2018”)

Labelling Regulations 2020 have been gazetted and enforced in law and thus, to adhere to the ‘labelling requirements’ of a packaged food, a business needs to only comply with the Labelling Regulations 2020. However, Packaging Regulations 2018, even though gazetted, are yet to be enforced by the FSSAI. Thus, for the purposes of complying with the packaging requirement of food products, a business still needs to be compliant with the Packaging and Labelling Regulations 2011 and not the Packaging Regulations, 2018. 

Over and beyond, businesses would also be required to comply with labelling and display information under the Legal Metrology Act, 2009 discussed in Section 6 and Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020 as discussed in Section 7 of this article.

Labelling and display

Labelling of packaged food product

  • Definition

“Labelling” has been defined by FSSAI as – i) any graphic, printed, or written matter that is present on the label and which ii) accompanies the food or is displayed near the food.

  • Labelling requisites

  1. Name of the food: This indicates the true and accurate nature of the food product and in the absence of such a name, food business may either use a usual name or a common name or an accompanying description of the true nature of such food.
  2. Ingredients/list of ingredients: A food additive carried over into a food in an amount sufficient to perform a technological function in that food shall be included in the list of ingredients.
  3. Nutritional information: Nutritional information which is required to be given on the label contains are the amounts of a) proteins, b) carbohydrate, total sugar and added sugar, c) total fat, saturated fats, trans fat (other than naturally occurring trans-fat), and cholesterol, d) sodium and e) the energy value. This information needs to be given per 100g or 100ml or per single consumption pack or per serve percentage along with Recommended Dietary Allowance calculated based on 2000 kcal energy, 67 g total fat, 22 g saturated fat, 2 g trans-fat, 50 g added sugar and 2000 mg of sodium (5 g salt) requirement for an average adult per day, shall be given on the label.
  4. Declaration regarding food additives: Every flavoring agent added to a food product needs to be declared under the list of ingredients.
  5. Allergen information: Name of any allergy-causing ingredients such as gluten, lactose, etc.
  6. Declaration of name and complete address of the brand owner, whether or not he is the manufacturer, marketer, packer, or bottler, as the case may be, shall be declared on the label.
  7. Batch/Code/Lot number: Identification mark shown on the label of the packaged food commodity by means of alpha-numeric combinations or any unique identification mark through which the food can be traced back to where it was manufactured and identified in distribution.
  8. Date of manufacture or packaging and expiry/use by
  9. FSSAI logo and license number
  10. Net quantity, retail sale price, and contact details in case of consumer complaint: Declaration and manner of the declaration shall be as provided in the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011.
  11. Instructions for use (if applicable)
  12. Best Before (Additional/Optional declaration)
  13. Veg-Logo/Non-Veg Logo (size, colour, and shape of the logo should conform to the size parameters under the Labelling Regulations 2020) 

Size of declarations on the principal display panel

  1. Definition: “Principal display panel” means that part of the package/container is intended to be shown to the customer under normal and/or customary conditions of such display, purchase, or sale of the food product contained in the package.
  2. Area of principal display panel:
  1. In the case of a rectangular package, the area of the principal display panel should not be less than 40 % of the product of width and height of the panel of such a package having the largest area. The height of any letter and numeral on the principal display panel shall be in accordance with Section 6 of the Labelling and Display Regulations.
  2. Provided that the size of numeral or letters required for the declaration of the retail sale price, net weight, use by date or date of expiry or best before (wherever and as applicable) and customer care details on the principal display panel shall be as provided as per the Legal Metrology Act, 2009 and the rules made thereunder.
  3. The width of the numerals or letters shall not be less than one-third of its height but shall not apply in the case of numerals “1” and letters i, I, and l.

Labelling and display of fortified food products and organic food products

  1. Fortified foods are food products that have undergone the process of fortification i.e. content of essential micronutrients in the particular food product were intentionally increased so as to enhance the nutritional quality of food to provide health benefits. Simply put, fortified foods have extra nutrients added to it that are not normally there. Example: Milk with vitamin A or D added and salt with iodine added.
  2. Organic foods are a range of food products that have been produced under a system of agriculture without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides with an environmentally and socially responsible nature laid down by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (“APEDA”). 
  3. Fortified and Organic Foods are separately governed under the provisions of the FSS (Fortification of Food) Regulations, 2018 and the FSS (Organic Food) Regulations, 2017 which requires the fortified food products and organic food products to give additional declarations on the labels apart from the ones which the packaged food products already need to comply with under the Labelling and Display Regulations 2020.
  4. All packaged fortified food should have an additional declaration as part of the labelling stating the words “fortified with …. (name of the fortificant)” and the “fortified logo”, specified in Schedule-II of the FSS (Fortification of Food) Regulations, 2018, on its label. Fortified iodized salts are exempted from complying with this specific labelling requirement. 
  5. All packaged organic food may carry a quality assurance mark or a certification from (i) Participatory Guarantee System for India (PGS-India); (ii) National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) or (iii) Any other standards or systems which may be notified by the FSSAI, in consultation with APEDA, from time to time, in addition to the FSSAI Organic Logo.
  6. Sellers of organic foods will also be required to display organic food items in a distinguishable manner from conventional food items.

Display of information in Food Service Establishments

Interestingly, even food service establishments such as restaurants, hotels serving meals, club/canteens, etc. are now governed under the FSS (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2020 with respect to their food information.

Key compliance for Food Service Establishments

Food Service Establishments having central license or outlets at ten or more locations shall mention the calorific value (in kcal per serving and serving size) against the food items displayed on the menu cards or boards or booklets and the reference information on calorie requirements shall also be displayed clearly and prominently as – “An average active adult requires 2,000 kcal energy per day, however, calorie needs may vary”. 

Food items displayed on the menu cards or boards or booklets shall also mention

  1. Information whether the food consists of allergens, which include the following:
  • Milk and milk products,
  • Cereals containing gluten; i.e., barley, oats, rye, spelled or wheat or their hybridized strains and products of these,
  • Crustacean and their products,
  • Fish and fish products,
  • Eggs and egg products,
  • Groundnut tree nuts and their products,
  • Soybeans and their products; and
  • Sulphite in concentrations of 10 mg/kg or more.

2. Logo for vegetarian or non-vegetarian.

The provisions of this regulation shall not apply to the following, namely

  1. Foodservice premises such as event caterers who operate for less than sixty (60) days in a calendar year (consecutively or non-consecutively);
  2. Self-serve condiments that are free of charge and not listed on the menu; and
  3. Special-order items or modified meals and menu items as per the request of the customer.

Packaging

Definition

“Pre-Packaged” or “Pre-Packed Food”, as a food article, which has been placed inside a package of any nature, in such a fashion that the food article inside the package cannot be changed without the tampering of the package and which is ready for sale to the consumer.

The primary objective of packaging a food product is to preserve the food, promote food safety and thereby protect a consumer’s health who is ultimately consuming the food product and appropriate packaging depending on the nature of the food product will protect it from physical, microbiological, atmospheric or chemical contamination. Good packaging also ensures that there is no change in the composition of food when packed or its sensory properties. 

The Packaging Regulations specify the suggestive list of packaging materials for different food product categories and the packaging materials used should conform to the Indian Standards provided in the schedules. Besides, general and specific requirements of packaging, the Packaging Regulations also prescribe specific migration and overall migration limits of contaminants for plastic packaging materials.

Discussing the packaging aspect of all food products under this one article won’t be feasible since packaging, as stated above, will differ from product to product and basis the category of the food product, the Packaging and Labelling Regulations, 2011 and the Packaging Regulations 2018 along with its schedules need to be referred.

Advertisements and claims

Food businesses that are engaged in the marketing and advertising of their food product to the consumers need to be compliant with the FSS (Advertising and Claims) Regulations, 2018.

Definitions

  1. The term “Advertisement” includes any audio or visual publicity, pronouncements or representations made by means of any sound, light, gas, smoke, print, internet or website, electronic media which includes through any circular, notice, label, wrapper, or such other documents. 
  2. A “Marketer” of the advertisement is defined as persons or companies, including advertisers, and direct marketers, including e-platforms who or on whose behalf marketing communications are published to promote their products or influence consumer behaviour.
  3. The term “Claim” includes any representation regarding the food product to have particular qualities with respect to its origin, nature, nutritional properties, processing, composition, or otherwise. 

Key Provisions under Advertising and Claims Regulation

Every advertisement made for the sale of any food product shall not make any claims that do not comply with the provisions of the Regulation. Certain claims such as ‘reduction of disease risk’ claims or any other claim which has not been standardised under the Advertising and Claims Regulation will require prior approval from the Food Authority and should be supported with a sound scientific basis.

Further, the Advertising and Claim Regulations do not allow food businesses to use words/phrases such as fresh, original, natural, traditional, genuine, authentic, real, etc. on the food labels except under specific conditions mentioned in Schedule V of the Advertising and Claims Regulation. Such restrictions are primarily aimed at restricting an open-ended use of these words/phrases by food businesses on frivolous grounds. Claims containing words or phrases like “home-cooked”, “home-made” etc., which may give a misleading or erroneous impression to the customer shall not be used.

Where the meaning of a trademark, brand name, or fancy name containing adjectives such as “natural”, “fresh”, “pure”, “original”, “traditional”, “authentic”, “real”, “genuine” etc., appearing on the presentation, labelling or advertising of a food product is likely to mislead the customer as to the nature of the food, in such cases, a disclaimer shall be given in not less than 3mm size and at an appropriate place on the label stating that – “*This is only a brand name or trademark and does not represent its true nature”.

Advertisements in respect of a food product that portrays the food product as a complete replacement of normal meals or undermines the importance of healthy lifestyles are not permitted. Further, a food business is also prohibited to advertise or make claims undermining the products of other manufacturers so as to influence consumer behaviour and promote their food products. Any person, including a third party, who advertises or is a party to the publication of any misleading advertisement not complying with these regulations would be penalised with a fine extending up to INR 10 lakhs, as per Section 53 of the FSS Act, 2006.

If a claim with respect to the comparison of nutrient contents are being made, the foods shall be different versions of the same food or similar foods being compared and the relative difference should be at least 25% in the energy value or nutrient content or at least 10% of recommended dietary allowances, for claims about micronutrients other than sodium and strictly comply with all other requirements under Section 5(4) of the Advertising and Claims Regulation.

Types of claims as provided in the Regulation

The various types of claims as provided in the Regulation are as follows: 

  1. Nutrition Claim means any representation that a food has particular nutritional properties. 
  2. Non-Addition Claim means that an ingredient or additive has not been added to a food, either directly or indirectly, which the consumers would normally expect to find in the food. 
  3. Health claim means any statement which implies any health benefit arising out of consumption of such food. 
  4. Conditional claims are claims which use adjectives like “natural”, “fresh”, “pure”, “original”, “traditional”, “authentic”, “real”, “genuine” etc., on the food labels, subject to specific conditions. 
  5. Prohibited claims are claims which are prohibited to be made under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 or its regulations made thereunder, or any words which imply or suggest that the food is prescribed, recommended or approved by medical practitioners or approved for medical purpose, or any claim that undermines the products of other manufacturers so as to promote their food products or influence consumer behaviour.
  6. Equivalency Claims are claims which attempt to promote the equality in amount, value, and importance of one food attribute to another. The equivalence claims such as “contains the same amount of [nutrient] as a [food]” and “as much [nutrient] as a [food]” may be used on the label or in the labelling of foods, only if the amount of the nutrient(s) in the reference food is enough to qualify that food as a “source” of that nutrient, on per 100ml or 100g and thereby is an equivalent source of that nutrient (e.g., “as much fibre as an orange,” and “contains the same amount of vitamin C as ….. glass of orange juice.”).

Thus, any advertisement or claim pertaining to the food product shall be in accordance with the conditions prescribed in the Regulation. Moreover, all the claims should comply with the general requirements such as it must be truthful, unambiguous, meaningful, and not misleading to the consumers, etc. 

Offences under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006

Non-compliance of the food business of any of its obligations as mentioned in Section 2 and Section 3, can also attract penal consequences under the following provisions of the FSS Act, which are as follows:

  1. Conducting food business without a license: Imposition of fine up to INR 5 lakhs and punishable with imprisonment which may extend up to 6 months.
  2. False or misleading information to the FSSAI: Imposition of fine up to INR 2 lakhs and imprisonment up to 3 months.
  3. False or misleading advertisements: Imposition of fine up to INR 10 lakhs.
  4. Unhygienic or unsanitary manufacturing of food: Imposition of fine up to INR 1 lakh.
  5. Manufacturing food, not of the substance, nature of quality demanded: Imposition of fine up to INR 5 lakhs holding state/central licenses and imposition of fine up to INR 25,000 for petty manufacturers (such as itinerant vendor, hawkers, temporary stall holder or petty retailers) holding a FSSAI registration and having an annual turnover not exceeding INR 12 lakhs.
  6. Manufacture of Unsafe Food
    • Imposition of fine up to INR 1 lakh and imprisonment up to 6 months if such contravention does not result in any injury to the consumer.
    • Imposition of fine up to INR 3 lakhs and imprisonment up to 1 year if such contravention results in non-grievous injury to the consumer.
    • Imposition of fine up to INR 5 lakhs and imprisonment up to 6 years if such contravention results in a grievous injury to the consumer.
    • Imposition of fine up to INR 10 lakhs and imprisonment up to 7 years if such contraventions result in the death of the consumer.
  7. Misbranded food: Imposition of fine up to INR 3 lakhs.
  8. Failure to comply with directions of food safety officer: Imposition of fine up to INR 2 lakhs.
  9. Interference with seized items: Imposition of fine up to INR 2 lakhs and imprisonment up to 6 months.
  10. Obstructing a food safety officer from conducting his duties: Imposition of fine up to INR 1 lakh and imprisonment up to 3 months.
  11. Subsequent offences: If any person, after having been previously convicted of an offence punishable under this Act subsequently commits and is convicted of the same offence, he shall be liable to:
  • Twice the punishment, which might have been imposed on a first conviction, subject to the punishment being maximum provided for the same offence;
  • A further fine on a daily basis may extend up to one lakh rupees, where the offence is a continuing one; and
  • His licence shall be cancelled.

The court may also publish the offender’s name, residency address, offence committed and the penalty imposed in such newspapers or in such other manner as the court may direct and deem fit and the cost of such publication shall be deemed to be part of the cost attending the conviction and shall be recoverable in the same manner as a fine.

Legal metrology

Legal Metrology is the application of legal requirements to measurements and measuring instruments and the objective of which is to ensure public guarantee from the point of view of security and accuracy of the weights and measurements.

The Legal Metrology Act, 2009 (LM Act) came into force with effect from 1st April 2011 to establish and enforce standards of weights and measures, regulate commerce and trade in weights and other goods which are sold or distributed by weight, measure, or number. The LM Act repeals and replaces the Standard of Weights and Measures Act, 1976 and the Standards of Weights and Measures (Enforcement) Act, 1985.

Food businesses engaged in the manufacturing of pre-packaged food products must get themselves registered under the LM Act, nominate a director who shall be responsible for the company under the LM Act, and comply with the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011 [“LM (PC) Rules”]. 

For the purposes of a broad overview

  1. The manufacturer is required to declare the following on the label in case of a retail package:
  • Name and address of the manufacturer, or where the manufacturer is not the packer, the name and address of the manufacturer and packer, and for any imported package the name and address of the importer;
  • Name of the country of origin or manufacture;
  • Common or generic names of the commodity;
  • Net quantity;
  • Month and year in which the commodity is manufactured or pre-packed or imported;
  • Best before or use by the date, month, and year;
  • MRP Rs. xx.xx (Inclusive of all taxes);
  • Name, telephone number, address, the e-mail address of the person who can be or the office which can be contacted, in case of consumer complaints.

However, specific to food packages, Rule 26 of the LM (PC) Rules exempt the aforesaid decelerations to any package commodity if:

  • The net weight or measure of the commodity is ten gram or ten millilitres or less, if sold by weight or measure; and
  • Any package containing fast food items packed by restaurant or hotel and the like. 

2. The manufacturer is required to declare the following on the label in case of a wholesale package:

  • The name and address of the manufacturer, importer or packer,
  • The identity of the commodity contained in the package along with,
  • The total no. of retail packages or net quantity in terms of UOM contained in the wholesale package.

Consumer protection

If your food business is online and is engaged in the selling of packaged food products, your company needs to be compliant with the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020 (“E-Commerce Rules”) which were enforced last year on 23rd July, 2020. The E-Commerce Rules mandate the e-commerce entities to declare certain sets of information to their customers in a clear and accessible manner on its platform, displayed prominently to its users.

Mandatory declarations by an e-commerce entity on its platform

  1. The legal name of the e-commerce entity;
  2. Principal geographic address of its headquarters and all branches;
  3. Name and details of its website; and
  4. Contact details like email address, fax, landline, and mobile numbers of customer care as well as of grievance officers.

Mandatory declarations by a seller on an e-commerce entity

  1. Price of the good, along with the breakup price for the good, showing all the voluntary and compulsory charges such as delivery handling charges, delivery charges, conveyance charges, postage charges, and the applicable tax, as applicable;
  2. The name, contact numbers, and designation of the grievance officer for consumer grievance redressal or for reporting any matter;
  3. Country of origin;

Name and details of the importer;

  1. Details related to shipment and delivery of such goods; and
  2. Guarantees or warranties applicable to such goods, if any.

References


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