Hyderabad: Food safety regulator FSSAI has issued an order in relation with loose mithai sale that says mithai manufacturers will have to mention Best Before Date on the loose mithai trays and containers while displaying on the sales counters. Earlier this year FSSAI issued this order in the month of February to make it mandatory to mention Manufacturing date as well as Best before date on the trays and containers of mithai.
In relation to this issue the Federation of Sweets and Namkeen Manufacturers-FSNM approached the regulator. According to FSNM this is practically impossible to mention both the dates on trays due to various reasons most importantly the range of mithai displayed on the counters is vast. They also informed the regulator that it’s a traditional industry where many of the manufacturers are not that much educated especially in smaller towns. These manufacturers have been making mithais since ages and are very popular for their delicacies in each city and region of the country.
FSNM also informed the regulator that India is a big country with many regional tastes, preferences and climatic zones. Each of the local delicacies has its shelf life and manufacturing practice. If a mithai is made in Delhi and sold to a retailer in Mumbai will have its own challenges. According to the Director of FSNM Firoz H Naqvi FSSAI had given a patient hearing on the subject and asked FSNM to come out with some solutions to make it possible where consumers can be made aware about the freshness of the sweets. According to the Indian labeling law loose food products such as mithai, milk and milk products, vegies and fruits, eggs and meat, cookies and biscuits, etc are kept out of putting date of manufacturing or best before date, added he.
Naqvi says FSNM had this meeting in the beginning of March 2020 and before they could make any consensus among the members of the federation lockdowns started one after the other. In between this pandemic mithai manufacturers faced a lot of financial losses, Naqvi added.
President of the Federation Virendra Jain informed the media that due to sudden lockdown mithai manufacturers faced very heavy losses of the stored raw materials mostly very perishable. This resulted into a state of uncertainty in the mithai industry now recovered 30-40 percent of the sales compared to last year. Jain also said that FSNM approached the regulator to extend the date of the implementation of the new law as well as amend this law as per the practicality. A number of Members of Parliament have also written in favour of FSNM to the regulator in recent times.
FSSAI gave the extensions two times ever since its 1st circular in the month of February on request of FSNM. On the 25th September on the request and representation from FSNM and mithai industry’s regional associations FSSAI made Date of Manufacturing Voluntary and Best before date Mandatory. According to the members of the federation this move is welcomed in the industry circles as well as FSNM.
Naqvi says that we are in constant touch with FSSAI and have requested them to further give the extension to the new law for at least for 6 more months because industry is not in a condition of implementing this new law. He also added that in coming days a delegation of FSNM will meet FSSAI and ask them for the extension. This will give more time to mithai manufacturers to prepare for the new law. Federation is also working on the practical solutions for putting Best before date on mithai trays and they are expecting FSSAI will help them in this as well.