The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (hereinafter referred to as 'FSSAI') on February 24, 2020 issued an Order1 directing all Food Business Operators (hereinafter referred to as 'FBO') of non-packaged/ loose sweets to display the labels comprising 'Date of Manufacturing' and 'Best Before Date', effective from June 01, 2020. The above-mentioned labels have to be as per the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations 2011.
Regulating loose sweets
The Order comes in consonance with the concerns of FSSAI where there has been a significant increase in the sale of stale/ expired loose sweets which are a source of potential health issues attributable to the commercialization of unregulated food products.
The FSSAI vide the said Order has directed for the display the 'Best Before Date' label in accordance with the nature of product and local conditions. The FBO's can also take assistance from the indicative list of shelf life for various types of sweets as given in the Guidance Note on Safety and Quality of Traditional Mil Products as issued by FSSAI2
FSSAI has specifically stated that all the FBOs engaged in sweets have to comply with the said Order and the Food Safety Commissioners of States/ UTs have been directed to ensure that the FBOs are compliant with the directions of this Order.
Implications of the Order
The Order aims at addressing genuine public health issues as well as safety. While many of the popular FBOs in retails are already complying with the Order, the implementation of the Order is going to a laborious task for the local and developing FBOs as it involves increased costs and regulatory compliance.
At present, a number of FBOs of sweets business have been practicing the use of disclaimers like 'Consume same day'. With the introduction of the said Order, disclaimers like the above will no more suffice and FBOs would now have to mandatorily display the labels including 'date of manufacturing' and 'best before' in a clearly visible display panel.
 File No. 13(29) 2019/ Milk/ RCD/ FSSAI dated February 24, 2020
 Guidance Note No. 14/2020 https://fssai.gov.in/upload/uploadfiles/files/Guidance_Note_Milk_Products_24_02_2020.pdf
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