The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued directions withdrawing the mandatory declaration of ‘best before’ dates on non-packaged sweets / loose sweet containers / trays. These directions were issued on 7th November, 2023.
It may be recalled that prior to 2021, the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations 2011 governed the packaging and labelling of all food products. Hence, in keeping with these regulations, the FSSAI issued directions on declarations to be made non-packaged sweets / loose sweet containers / trays. These directions were issued on 25th September, 2020.
According to these directions, Food Business Operators (FBOs) selling non-packaged or loose sweets were required to declare their ‘best before’ dates on the container/ tray holding the sweets at the sale outlet. These dates were to be decided based on the nature of the product and the local conditions. The directions also referenced an indicative list of shelf-life for certain products on the FSSAI website.
However, subsequently, the Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2020 was notified, thereby withdrawing the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011. Hence, the FSSAI undertook a review of the directions dated 25th September, 2020. Based on this review, FSSAI has decided that the Scientific Panel needs to deliberate further on the declarations of dates on non-packaged/ loose products.
Therefore, the FSSAI has withdrawn the earlier directions dated 25th September, 2023 till it has taken a decision on this matter. However, FBOs can still declare best before date on non packaged sweets / loose sweet containers / trays on voluntary / optional basis.