Advocacy win: Extension of implementation date of Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulation
On 22 October 2021, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare/Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) published direction extending the implementation date of Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulation 2020 to 1 July 2022, which was earlier to be implemented on 17 November 2021.
FSSAI notified in the Official Gazette of India, the Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2020, which describes new labelling and essential information requirements for pre-packaged foods. Attributing to the impact of the pandemic and unprecedented impacts on the sector, both international and domestic food and drink industry have been seeking an extension to the previous implementation date – as this would enable them to exhaust existing packaging material and help businesses align themselves with the new regulatory requirements.
Chronology on Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulation:
- 11 April 2018, FSSAI notified the Draft Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2018.
- 7 May 2018, the draft regulation was notified to the WTO for comments (WTO Notification Number G/TBT/N/IND/77) with a comment deadline date of 5 July 2018.
- 9 July 2019, FSSAI published the new Draft Labelling and Display Regulations, 2019.
- 11 July 2019 the new draft was notified to the WTO for comments (WTO Notification Number G/TBT/N/IND/102) with a comment deadline date of 9 September 2019.
- 17 December 2020, final Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2020 was notified in the Indian Gazette. Mandating that the said regulations shall come into force on the date of their publication in the Official Gazette and Food Business Operator shall comply with all the provisions of these regulations after one year from the date of their publication in the Official Gazette, to which Food Business Operator shall comply by 1 January 2022.
- 22 October 2021, FSSAI issued directives extending the implementation date of the said regulations to 1 July 2022.
Attributing to the global pandemic restricted mobility obstructed the agriculture, food and drink sector by concurrently impacted both demand and supply. Nevertheless, data suggests that the impact on demand has lingered longer than on supply through this phase. Consumer decisions pertaining to spending were restricted, which led to businesses being stuck with the packaging inventory and inability to implement the new requirements defined under the Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2020.
UKIBC with its continued deliberation with the F&D industry, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, and other related stakeholders has advocated the need for extension of the Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2020. As a result, FSSAI recently published a gazette notification to extend the timeline for compliance with the FSS (Labelling and Display) Regulations to 1 July 2022.
UKIBC continued engagement with FSSAI on multiple fronts has always resulted in positive outcomes for the UK food and drink businesses in India, showcasing FSSAI’s progressive approach on bringing reforms, improving the Ease of Doing Business and encouraging UK businesses to further explore investment in India.
By extending the date of implementation, FSSAI has shown yet another forward-looking approach to the businesses. In a time when the UK and India are progressing with the FTA dialogue; such reforms by the Indian Government showcase the intent of a strong India-UK economic corridor. This extension will grant much-awaited relief to both domestic and international businesses working in the realm of the F&D sector and help the businesses to offer a fully compliant product to the Indian consumers.