I. DISPLAYING INFORMATION THROUGH QR CODE:
THE LEGAL METROLOGY (PACKAGED COMMODITIES) (SECOND AMENDMENT) RULES, 2022
For the ease of the business, the Department of Consumer Affairs (“Department”) vide the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities), (Second Amendment) Rules 2022, (“Second Amendment”)  dated 14th July 2022, has allowed the manufacturer of electronic products to declare certain mandatory declarations, on the products which is manufactured or packed or imported after 15th July, 2022, through the QR Code for a period of one year, if not declared in the package itself. It appears that, it is an attempt to enable greater use of technology in this digital era to facilitate the consumer and manufacturers/packers/importers.
Pursuant to Rule 6 of the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011, (“The Rules”) every package is mandated to bear or securely affix on a label, the following:
  • A definite plain, and conspicuous declaration of the name and address of the manufacturer;
  • The common or generic names of the commodity contained in the package and in case of packages with more than one product, the name and number or quantity of each product;
  • The dimensions of the commodity contained in the package and if the dimensions of the different pieces are different, the dimensions of each such different piece.
In addition to this, through Rule 6 (2), every package is also mandated to bear the name, address, telephone number and E-mail address of the person who can be or the office which can be contacted, in case of consumer complaints.
From 15th of July 2022, through the Second Amendment, the Department has allowed the electronic products to declare certain mandatory declarations through the QR Code for a period of one year, if not declared in the package itself.
The Second Amendment lays down that for any electronic product manufactured or packed or imported after the 15th of July 2022, an option is available to declare any elaborated information through the digital form through the QR code, for a period of one year. However, the declaration on the package must also explicitly inform consumers to scan the QR Code for the elaborated information in cases wherein the QR Code is utilized to declare the following information:
  • The address and other related information;
  • The common or generic name of the commodity, and in cases where the package contains more than one product, the name and number or quantity of each product;
  • The size and dimension of the commodity;
  • The telephone number and e-mail address of the person who can be or the office which can be or the office which can be contacted, in case of consumer complaints.
Prior to this amendment, all prepackaged commodities including electronic products were necessitated to declare all the mandatory declarations as mentioned in the Rules on the package itself. Post the Second Amendment an option to declare the aforementioned information via QR Code is available to the manufacturer/packer/importer for a period of one year.
As per the Press Release 16th July 2022, (Release ID: 1842006) issued by the Press Information Bureau, the aim of this amendment is to ease the doing of business and reducing the compliance burden for the electronic industries.
It appears that the Department, via the Second Amendment, aimed to enable greater use of technology in this digital era. Effectively, the usage of the QR code is optional and is to be in effect for only one year post this notification.
II. VEGAN FOOD COMPLIANCES:
FSSAI NOTIFICATION ON THE FOOD SAFETY AND STANDARDS (VEGAN FOODS) REGULATIONS, 2022
With the change of time consumers have become more health conscious and there is quite shift from being vegetarian to being a vegan. These two terms sound identical, however, there is a vast difference between them. Recently the demand for vegan food has been constantly expanding worldwide including in India.
Taking into consideration the rise in demand of Vegan food, the regulator, i.e., the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (“FSSAI”) had published the draft of the Food Safety and Standards (Vegan Foods) Regulations, 2021, vide notification number F. No. Std/TF-Vegan Foods/Notif./FSSAI, dated 6th September 2021, in the Gazette, inviting objections and suggestions from all the persons.
Thereafter, on the 10th of June 2022, a set of rules and regulations were introduced with respect to the production, processing, packaging and distribution of vegan foods, through the FSSAI’s notification 33074/2022/REGULATION-FSSAI, which is known as the “Food Safety and Standards (Vegan Foods) Regulations, 2022 (“Regulations”).
These Regulations are result of the growing shift towards healthier food alternatives and a rise in the manufacturing, production and retail of vegan products, with the sector being a rapidly growing one. These regulations aim to establish clear guidelines which ensure that vegan products are safely manufactured, packaged and distributed in a distinguishable manner.
The Regulations mainly lays down a set of 8 (Nos.) general requirements, 3 (Nos.) labelling and display requirements and other relevant compliances. These Regulations contain 5 (Nos.) Regulations, which are explained as under:
Rule 1 and 2 – Commencement and Definition:
Pursuant to Rule 1 of the Regulation these Regulations have come into force from 10th June 2022.
Regulation No. 2 define Vegan food as “the food or food ingredient, including additives, flavourings, enzymes and carriers, or processing aids that are not products of animal origin and in which, at no stage of production and processing, ingredients, including additives, flavourings, enzymes and carriers, or processing aids that are of animal origin has been used.”
The other words and expressions given in the Regulation shall have the same meaning as defined under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
Rule 3 – General Requirements:
  • The general requirements prevent a person from manufacturing, packing, selling, offering for sale, marketing or otherwise distributing or importing any food as vegan food without complying with the requirements as stipulated in the Regulations.
  • It also mandates that there must be no animal testing involved for any reason, including safety evaluation, unless the same is mandated by any Regulatory Authority.
  • All the packaging material used for vegan foods must be in accordance with the provisions of the packaging regulations, as stipulated in ‘the Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2020’, and remain the same for vegan food unless specifically mentioned through the labelling and display requirements below.
  • The Food Business Operator must avoid presence of any non-vegan substances at every stage of production, processing and distribution and ensure the Good Manufacturing Practices. These ‘Good Manufacturing Practices’ include Food Safety Management Systems which may consist of methods such as Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and General Hygiene Practices (GHP) being utilized. This is to ensure that the production of vegan foods occurs in a non-vegan substance-free environment.
  • In situations where a production line is shared with non-vegan products or ingredients, there must exist thorough cleaning or comparable measures as per the Good Manufacturing Practices which should be carried out before manufacturers begin the production of vegan products, this should be further implemented for all associated machinery, equipment, utensils and surfaces. These Good Manufacturing Practices must be implemented before the production of vegan products begins and are listed down in Schedule 4 of the Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses), Regulations 2011.
  • There must exist traceability up to the manufacturer level and the Food Business Operator shall comply with any other requirements specified by the Food Authority to maintain the vegan integrity of the foods or food ingredients or products thereof from time to time.
  • Every vegan food or ingredient must be in compliance with the relevant provisions, as applicable under the Act, rules and regulations.
Rule 4 – Labelling and Display Requirements:
These regulations stipulate that:
  • All those who are engaged in the selling of vegan food must store and display vegan items in a way which is distinguishable from non-vegan food.
  • All package of vegan foods must have the logo as specified below (after the approval):
  • Along with these specified requirements, all vegan foods must comply with the packaging and labelling requirements as laid down in the ‘Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2020’, barring clause (b) of sub regulation (4) of regulation 5, which reads as under :
Every package of Vegetarian Food containing ingredients including food additives, processing aids of plant origin shall bear a declaration to this effect by a symbol and colour code as stipulated below. The symbol shall consist of a green colour filled circle inside a square with green outline having the diameter not less than the minimum size specified in the Table mentioned in the regulation 5 (4) (c), as indicated below:”
Hence, in view of the above, the vegan food product/s will not bear a logo of the vegetarian product, instead it will bear a ‘vegan’ mark as stipulated in Rule 4 hereinabove.
Rule 5 – Other Compliances:
  • The Food Business Operator will need to submit an application to the concerned licensing authority with all the relevant details in a format as may be specified by the Food Authority.
  • The Food Authority may specify guidelines for approval of vegan logo.
  • The import of vegan products would only be permitted with a certificate issued by the recognized authorities of the exporting countries in the format as specified by the Authority.
These regulations provide clarification upon the requirements for vegan products and provide clear guidelines for the manufacturing, packaging, selling and marketing for such products, which did not exist prior to the introduction of these regulations. The regulations will also protect consumers by providing more stringent thresholds for vegan products.
The guidelines establish that the FSSAI and food industry is very keen in making food marked more healthier and more environmentally friendly to meet the demands/ requirements of the consumers.
III. AMENDMENTS TO PACKAGED COMMODITIES RULES:
RECENT AMENDMENTS TO THE LEGAL METROLOGY (PACKAGED COMMODITIES) RULES
There are a whole new set of compliances ready for the manufacturers/packer/importers which needs to be complied with post 1st April, 2022. The Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules 2011 (“Rules”) has been again amended by the Department of Consumer Affairs (“Ministry”) vide its notification dated 2nd November, 2021. The Ministry has issued the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Amendment Rules 2021 (“Amended Rules”), which has been made effective from April 01, 2022. The main object behind the amendments inter alia includes the object to ensure that consumers can make an informed choice and simultaneously reducing compliance for the manufacturers/packer/importers.
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution vide its notification dated March 28, 2022 has notified The Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2021, according to which the Amended Rules will now be brought into force from October 01, 2022.
Amendments in Rule 4 and 5 of the Rules:
The main highlight of the Amended Rules inter alia includes the amendments to Rule 4 which includes addition of new sub rule (2). The said sub rule states that when one or more packages intended for retail sale are grouped together for being sold as a retail package on promotional offer, every package of the group shall comply with the procedure prescribed in the Amendment Rules, i.e., Rule 6 of the Rules for declaring unit sale price in the package.
The other prominent amendment includes omission of Rule 5 of the Rules. The omitted Rule 5 dealt with specific commodities, as mentioned in the Schedule II, which were required to be packed and sold in recommended standard packages. In order to ease the compliance requirements, Ministry has scrapped Schedule II of the Rules, under which 19 types of commodities were to be packed in quantities by number or measure or weight in a specified manner. This omission will now allow all the commodities to be packed and sold in any pack size.
Month and Year of Manufacturing:
The amendment to Rule 6(1)(d) of the Rules has removed flexibility to mention month and year of packing or import. As a result, now the month and year of manufacturing (and not manufacturing) needs to be mentioned on all domestic and imported packages.
This change will significantly increase compliance burden as month and year of manufacturing will not be readily available in all cases and the Packers/ Importers will have to rely on manufacturers (including foreign manufacturers) for getting this information which will impede supply chains. It is also pertinent to note that various importers also undertake operations which do not qualify as manufacturing activity. Hence, mentioning Month & Year of manufacturing of main goods shall be a slightly difficult task for them.
Mentioning the Retail Price:
One of the most crucial amendments is made regarding the way MRP is printed on the packaged commodities. Presently, MRP is printed in “maximum or max retail price MRP Rs. ₹ xx.xx (inclusive of all taxes)” format. In case a company mentioned its MRP  on the packet only in “Rs xx (inclusive of all taxes)” format, it was considered as a violation. However, post the amendments and removal of illustration, the manufacturer/ packer/ importer is free to declare the MRP on the prepacked commodities in a simplified manner. Provided that they must comply with the requirement of mentioning the MRP in Indian rupees inclusive of all taxes.
Earlier the declaration regarding the MRP required to be rounded off to nearest rupee or 50 paise, post amendments the Rules only requires mentioning of the MRP in ‘Indian currency’.
Now the Amended Rules requires declaration of MRP in the format of “Rs. __ per g”, “Rs. __ per kg”, “Rs. ___ per cm”, and “Rs. __ per ml”, etc., which means that per unit price needs to be mentioned on each package along with the MRP. This amendment aims at allowing easier comparison of the prices while buying the products.
Mentioning the Symbol of Units and Numbers for the Commodities:
The earlier provision under Rule 13 (5)(ii) provided for the statement of units of weight, measure or number. The rules for declaring the commodities sold in prepacked commodities in numbers have been eased out in order to reduce the compliance burden for manufacturer/ importer/ packer. Previously such declarations were denoted as “xxN or xxU” on the pack, only. After the amendment, the quantities can now be expressed in terms of the number or unit or piece or pair or set or such other word which represents the quantity in the package.
As per the amendment, companies which are selling packaged commodities with a quantity of more than one kilogram are required to print ‘unit sale price’ per kg along with its maximum retail price (MRP). For instance, a packaged commodity of 2.5 kg should mention a unit sale price per kg along with its total MRP, while a packaged commodity of less than one kg quantity should mention ‘unit sale price’ per gram along with MRP.
The new amendment also states that no prosecution will be initiated against the manufacturer or packer or importer of pre-packaged commodities for making declaration with effect from April 01, 2022, in accordance with Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011, as amended by the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Amendment Rules, 2021.
Overall Impact of the Amendments:
The amendment will provide a clarity for the consumer by providing them the access to specific information. However, the companies need to assess these changes and accordingly plan their supply chain to comply with the amendments, as the changes are significant and have considerable implication on them.
AUTHORS
Sidhartha Srivastava Yasmeen Sabir
Partner Senior Associate
sidhartha.s@linklegal.in yasmeen.sabir@linklegal.in
FIRM NEWS
  • Deal Update: Link Legal advised Doncasters Group of Companies in relation to the Indian element of its acquisition of Uni-Pol Group of Companies Read More
  • Link Legal has been featured as one of the Top 10 Law Firms in India in the Venture Intelligence League Tables Q2 2022 Read More
  •  The Firm has been ranked in Capital markets: Debt and Capital markets: Equity practice areas in the prestigious IFLR1000’s 2022 rankings Read More
  • Read the article “Analyzing the Conundrum vis-a-vis NCLT’s Power to admit CIRP Applications” authored by our Partner, Ketan Mukhija, and intern, Ishika Rajoria published on Mondaq Read More
  • Read the article “Need For Improving Pharmaceutical Laws – The Proposed Way Forward” authored by our Partner, Jinni Sinha, and Senior Associate, Sakshi Arora published on Mondaq Read More
  • Read the article “Master Directions on Credit Card and Debit Card – Issuance and Conduct Directions, 2022” authored by our Partner, Jinni Sinha, and Senior Associate, Tanushree Bose published on Mondaq Read More
  • Read the expert insights of our Partner, Ketan Mukhija, in the article “Condition critical” published by India Business Law Journal Read More
  • Read the article “CCI Acknowledges Manufacturer’s Right to Select Distributors” authored by our Partner, Ketan Mukhija, and intern, Ela Bharti published on Mondaq Read More
  • Our Associate Partner, Ambuj Sonal spoke with Sputnik News about cross-border investments in the era of growing uncertainty and the impact this will have on M&A activity in 2022 and beyond Read More
AWARDS & RECOGNITION
  • Winner in Aviation, and Infrastructure & Project Finance at India Business Law Journal’s 2022 Indian Law Firm Awards.
  • Top Law Firm (Above 10 years’ experience) across practice areas including Alternate Dispute Resolution – Arbitration/Mediation, Infrastructure & Projects, Project Finance, Joint Venture, M&A, PE & VC, and Restructuring, Insolvency & Bankruptcy in the Forbes India Legal Powerlist 2021.
  • Recognised as one of the Largest Law Firms in India in Asian Legal Business' Asia's Top 50 Largest Law Firms 2021 list.
  • M&A Law Firm of the Year and Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code Law Firm of the Year Awards at The IDEX Legal Awards 2021.
  • Infrastructure & Project Finance Law Firm of the Year Award at Legal Era Indian Legal Awards 2020-21.
  • Ranked as one of the Top 10 Law Firms in India in the M&A League Table by VCCEdge.
  • Ranked as one of the Top 10 Law Firms in India in the M&A League Table by Venture Intelligence.
  • Ranked by Debtwire in its India Loans League Table Report 2021.
  • Ranked #13 in Top Ranked Law Firms: India by Top Ranked Legal 2020 for Aviation, Banking & Finance, Capital Markets, Competition/ Antitrust, Corporate/ M&A, Dispute Resolution, Labour and Employment, Projects, Restructuring and Insolvency and TMT.
  • Recognised as one of the ‘Best Brands’ at the Economic Times - Best Brands Summit 2019.
  • Ranked #14 among top 40 Indian Law Firms by RSG Consulting, 2019.
  • Ranked highly in various practice areas such as Aviation, Projects, Infrastructure, Energy, Construction, Banking & Finance, Corporate and M&A, Dispute Resolution, International Arbitration, Competition/ Antitrust, Restructuring & Insolvency, Capital Markets, Labour & Employment, Private Equity, Real Estate, TMT, etc. by Chambers and Partners, The Legal 500, RSG, Benchmark Litigation, India Business Law Journal, Asian Legal Business, IFLR1000, Asialaw, among others.
  • Partners of the Firm are highly ranked by leading global publications including Chambers and Partners, The Legal 500, Benchmark Litigation, India Business Law Journal, Asian Legal Business, IFLR1000, Asialaw, among others.
award logo
Disclaimer:

The contents of this newsletter are intended for information purposes only. Parts of this newsletter are based on news reports and have not been independently verified. The newsletter is not in the nature of a legal opinion or advice and should not be treated as such. Link Legal does not warrant the accuracy and completeness of this newsletter, and readers are encouraged to seek professional advice before acting upon any of the information provided therein. In no event will Link Legal be liable for any loss whatsoever arising out of the use of or reliance on the contents of this newsletter. This newsletter is the exclusive copyright of Link Legal and may not be circulated, reproduced or otherwise used by the intended recipient without the prior permission of its originator.
LinkedIn            Web