Packaging of food is a necessary step for protecting the food while distribution and preventing the contamination of food from external sources. The proper preservation of food is the main purpose of packaged goods because of which the manufacturer of the food must be aware of its responsibilities to provide customers with the foods nutritional value and ingredients in the Packaged Foods.
Importance of Packaged Foods in Protection of Food against External Damages
A proper packaging acts as a protector of food against external damages during transportation and save the food from getting it contaminated by germs and insects which can otherwise cause a life threatening diseases. Also packaging stops food from getting spoiled because of oxygen and water vapor present in the environment. Packaging of food has other convenience that it can be reclosed after using it half and acts as a good storage and preservative.
According to the recent study it is critical to maintain food safety in packaged food. Therefore, under The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 FSSAI is responsible for framing the guidelines and directives which the food manufacturers and packagers have to abide by strictly.
FSSAI by notification dated 17th November, 2020 has issued of Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2020 and laid down the requirements for labelling pre-packaged foods and that the information of the ingredients, other contents and essential information that should be displayed on the package food to keep the consumer conscious about what they are eating.
Read our article:Everything you need to know about Punishable Offences under FSSAI
FSSAI Guidelines on Safety of Packaged Foods
The authority to govern and regulate food safety recognized under the Government of India is the FSSAI i.e. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, it is a sovereign body under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. It sets principles for food which has to be followed so that there is no confusion regarding the safety requirement of the quality of packaged food on customers, traders, manufacturers and investors.
The regulation Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2020 shall be enforced on the date of their publication in the Official Gazette and after one year from the date of their publication it will be mandatory for the Food Business Operator to comply with the regulations except 3rd chapter to which shall be complied by January 1st, 2022. It is important to refer that the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India had previously made the Food Safety and Standards (packaging and labelling) Regulations, 2011. Presently, the Food Authority has divided these into two – (i) the Food Safety and Standards (packaging) Regulations and (ii) the Food Safety and Standards (labelling and display) Regulations.
Labeling of food is the most essential part in the packaging of foods and beverages. The purpose of labeling is usually to keep the consumer informed about the ingredient of food that ensures the safety of the consumer. It is mandatory that every packaged foods has to be labeled and it shall provide following information:
Mistakes that affect FSSAI Approval: Common Mistakes to Avoid
Few mistakes which the Food Business Operators can avoid before packaging of foods:
Wrong Font Type and Size
Guidelines necessitate using the defined typeface and particular font dimension while giving essential information. So, all the details about the product as given in the guidelines have to be mentioned in the font as approved by have to be FSSAI.
Citing an example- the FSSAI has instructed that bottles of alcoholic beverage that is above 200ml will show a warning in font size of not less than 3mm
Not abiding by the Logo Dimensions or Color
FSSAI has strictly instructed that the logos applied by the food business operators must follow the guideline rules with thorough instructions on particular size and specified exact colour. For example, the sign to specify non-vegetarian food should be coloured in brown and for packages of size 100-500 sq.cm must be of 4mm.
Not Sufficient Contrast in Packaging
Consumers are likely to get affected by the packaging colour so it is highly recommended to the food business operators that they make the package readable and make certain that the formation of the content is evidently specific. Citing an example, while putting the logo of FSSAI and license number it should be shown on the label in the colour which is contrast to the background.
Sham Advertising and Deceptive Labels
FSSAI has made strict policy against untrue claims and information which are often misleading and has no veracity. For example, the packages of soup that has written being “healthy” or “nutritious” are not allowed to make such claim in view of the fact that they are high in sodium.
Front Part of the Package with Nutritional Information
It is important for the food business operators to mention the most important information regarding nutrition on the top of the package. Other information can be given in the back of the package but information on the energy amount, total fat, total sugar and total salt per serving has to be mentioned and the percentage input to the suggested daily allowance should be noticeably written in the format as specified by FSSAI.
Vigilance and Safety of Packaged Food: Reasons Why it Should be Safeguarded
- Any material likely to come in direct contact with the packaged foods must be food grade quality.
- Packaged food materials shall satisfy the conditions for preserving, sealing, storing and transporting so that the quality of the food is not affected in any manner.
- Packaging equipment shall be so made that it is able to go through the mechanical, chemical or thermal processes which it had to face during normal transportation.
- In case of a container that is flexible in packaged foods, a double or overwrap packaging is necessary so as to avoid its breakage.
- Cleanliness and hygienic packing is the foremost condition of the packaged food and the manufacturers should make sure that the package of the container is not tampered with easily.
- Tin containers cannot be used more than once for packaging the food.
- The ink that is used for printing on food packages shall be in accordance with IS: 15495.
- The packaging of food is to be one in such a manner that it is not coming in contact with the printed part of the packaged foods.
- Newspaper or materials similar to it is strictly prohibited for packaging, storing and covering of food.
- NABL is a Constituent Board of Quality Council of India which is authorized to issue certificate to every food business operator against these regulations if the packaging food comes in contact with food or layers likely to come in contact with food to be used.
The relation between labeling and packaging of food with that of consumer affairs is highly crucial. It is very significant to safeguard and protect the interest of the consumer for which the FSSAI is vigilant and regularly coming up with various guidelines for the food business operators. It is really important for the public health and safety that people consume proper food and at the same time they should be aware about the food they are consuming.
Therefore, labeling the packaged foods is something which serves the consumers interest and at the same time makes them satisfied with the food and let them decide and choose as to which company is offering what kind of food which is satisfying their requirements properly. Also, packaging of food has been in demand since the covid-19 pandemic and so it is more than ever required that greater attention and new framework for the same be strictly implied with.
It is important for FSSAI to be cautious about the safety of packaged food because any alteration in the food or any kind of contamination which deteriorates the food quality can lead to serious risk causing diseases and can harmfully affect the health. Therefore, labeling of packaged foods is an artwork which the food business operators must double check before printing the packet so as to avoid rejection by FSSAI.
Read our article:How to Check FSSAI Application Status?5fd87c6a0f6adGazette_Notification_Labelling_Display_14_12_2020