The Consumer Affairs Ministry (CAM) held several rounds of discussion to amend the Legal Metrology Rules 2011 in the interest of consumers buying these products. This discussion was to ensure the details on packaged food items are more visible and much easier to read for customers and they also want to incorporate barcode-kind of system to protect the consumer from spurious products.
This discussion comes from a public and industry demand to change the rules. A senior CAM official told PTI, “Rule 7 specifies about the font size of the declaration but most companies do not follow strictly. In smaller packs, the font size is too small for consumers to read. So, we have decided to adopt the US standard on font size.” Currently, the font size – for details such as name, address, net commodity, date of manufacturing and retail price – is less than 1mm. “The US follows 1.6mm, but we are planning to keep it at 1.5mm for a pack of 200 grams/ml,” he added.
He also said that the font size for a packed food item containing more than 200 grams/ml and up to 500 grams/ml will be increased from 2mm to 4mm and packed food items above 500 grams/ml the font size will be doubled to 8mm.
The addition of the barcode, or any other such mark, will be to identify food products that are made in India or specify the country it was made in to curb the sale of fake food items in the country. Also part of the discussion was increasing maximum quantity of packaged food items up to 50 kg/litres from the existing 25 kg/litres.
“For smaller packs, consumers have to pay more. So, we are thinking of allowing some commodities like rice, atta and others to be packed up to 50 kg/litres. This will bring down the cost on consumers,” the official explained.
This rule had last been amended in 2015 by the ministry. And it also comes at a time when Kochi multiplexes were fined for not selling popcorn and cold beverages according to the weight, but by size instead.