Govt makes standard packs mandatory for 19 items

The Indian Express, November 01, 2012

Manufacturers of 19 commodities, mostly food items like biscuit and bread, will have to package their products in standard sizes from today – a move aimed at protecting consumers from unfair trade practice by companies of reducing weight without changing the retail price.

The government has made mandatory standardised packaging of 19 items and non-compliance would invite penal action.

“In the interest of common consumer, from today onwards 19 commodities of day-to-day use, like bread, biscuits, tea can be sold in specified standard packs only. Manufacture, packing or import of these commodities in non-standard packs will invite penal action,” Consumer Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

The Ministry has comes out with a list of standard sizes for 19 commodities including tea, coffee and salt. The items to be covered under the new packaging order includes non-food products such as cement, paint and soaps.

Following complaints regarding unfair reduction in the quantity of packaged products from some consumer organisation, the government has amended the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules 2011. A notice was issued on June 5 this year in this regard.

“It has been observed that some manufacturers in the country are reducing quantity of packaged products by small fractions without making a change in the price of the product. The government after due examination of the issue amended the Legal Metrology Rules,” Food Minister K V Thomas had said.

The other items are – cereals and pulses; edible oils, vanaspati, ghee, and butter oil; rice (powdered), flour, atta, rawa and suji; baby food; weaning food; un-canned packages of butter and margarine; milk powder; aerated soft drinks and non-alcoholic beverages; mineral water and drinking water; cement in bags; paint varnish; soaps; non-soapy detergents (powder); materials which may be constituted or reconstituted as beverages.

The packaging standards for bread (including brown bread but excluding bun) has been specified as 50gm and thereafter in multiples of 50gm up to 500gm. Above 500gm, the weight of pack should be in the multiples of 100gm, the statement said.

In case of biscuits, the sizes has been fixed at 25gm, 50gm, 60gm, 75gm, 100gm, 120gm, 150gm, 200gm, 250gm, 300gm, thereafter in multiples of 100gm up to 1 kg and thereafter in multiples of 500gm up to 5 kg.

The ministry, however, said that non-standard packs manufactured and packed on or before 31st October and are ready for sale in different retail outlets would be exempted from penal action.

“Controllers of Legal Metrology in all the states and Uts have been asked to ensure strict compliance of the order,” the statement said.

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