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Government relaxes compliance with packaged commodities rules

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NEW DELHI: The government has allowed industries to use old packaging material that does not comply with the Legal Metrology Rules 2017 till July, providing fourth such extension to comply with the said rules which came into effect from January 1st this year.

The amended Legal Metrology (Packaged commodities) rules seek to regulate pre-packaged commodities, making declarations about date of manufacture, quantity, expiry date, manufacturer’s details, mandatory among other details about the product.

“On representations received, manufacturers/ packers/importers are allowed for putting stickers/ tags/ online printing, etc. up to 31.07.2018 for making the mandatory declarations required under the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Amendment Rules, 2017,” a letter sent to State Legal metrology departments said.

The government has also said that in the initial months of implementation of the said rules, there should be no prosecution for the shortcomings in labeling requirements so far as the font size of declarations is concerned, and given it is not affecting consumers in any way.

The revised rules for pre-packaged commodities also require manufacturers to increase the font size of product details, so consumers can read them easily. Bar coding product details, although voluntary, has also been provided for in the new rules.

“Country of origin shall be mandatorily declared along with other declarations including best before or use by date or expiry date, etc., required under these rules,” the letter issued on Thursday added.

The government has already relaxed thrice, the deadline for complying with the new rules. The initial deadline for complying with the rules, but by means of pasting stickers or online printing, was extended up to end of January this year.

The department of consumer affairs provided a further relaxation to the industry till February, then April this year. The April deadline has now been extended till end of July, meaning manufacturers or retailers will have to come up with fresh packaging that complies with the said rules, August onwards.

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