the-mandatory-requirements-for-packaged-commodities

Why in news?

The Department of Consumer Affairs, Legal Metrology Division has reported a draft amendment to the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules 2011. 

Context

As expressed in the notification, the Department of Consumer Affairs Legal Metrology Division has followed that many manufacturers/packagers/importers do not plainly label required declarations or premium constituents on the front of packaged items, which are considered integral to be revealed in order to safeguard buyer interests.

Meaning of the label

“Label” means any written, marked, stamped, printed or graphic matter affixed to or appearing upon any pre-packaged commodity.

Mandatory provisions under the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011

  • It is compulsory under the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011 to secure a number of declarations, such as the name and address of the manufacturer/packer/importer, the land of origin, the standard or generic name of the entity, the net quantity, the month and year of manufacture, the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) and consumer care information. 
  • As a consumer ­oriented approach, all pre-packaged items should also be reviewed. 
  • As stated in Rule 2(h), the “principal display panel”, in reference to a package, means the total surface area of a package including the details needed in accordance with these rules, namely that all the information should be grouped jointly and given in one place, the pre­printed details could be grouped together and given in one spot and the online facts in another place. 
  • Additionally, Rule 9(1)(a) delivers that the proclamation on the packet must be coherent and evident. 
  • The consumers ‘right to be informed’ is defiled when essential doctrines are not prominently depicted on the package. If there is more than one primary product, Rule 6(1)(b) says that “the name or number of each product shall be noted on the package.” This sub­rule is, yet, not relevant to mechanical or electrical items.

The proposed amendments

  • As many synthesised food and cosmetic by-products are sold on the market, the product packaging must cite fundamental components. 
  • It is typical for buyers to presume that label assertions are valid, but such claims are usually deceptive. 
  • Additionally, the front side of the package must include the % of the composition of the unique selling proposition (USP). 
  • As the name implies, a USP also known as a unique selling point is a marketing technique devised to notify customers about the preeminence of one’s own brand or product. 
  • Listing the USP of a product on the front of the package without revealing its composition percentage disregards consumer rights. 
  • Also, packages showing essential constituents must depict a % of the content used to create the product. 
  • For instance, if a brand sells aloe vera moisturiser or almond milk/biscuits, then the maximum percentage of the product should be aloe vera and almond, otherwise, the product name is deceitful. 
  • The Department of Consumer Affairs, Legal Metrology Division has indicated that at least two premium components should be displayed on the package’s front side along with the brand name. 
  • Presently, factories list the components and nutritious details only on the back of the packaging. 
  • The proposed Section 6(1)(a) states that when an item comprises more than one constituent, the front side of the package must contain a declaration of two or more of the item's prime constituents along with the brand title. 
  • This declaration must also retain the percentage/quantity of the USPs of the product in the identical font size as the assertion of the USPs. 
  • Regardless, mechanical or electrical commodities are excluded from this sub­rule. Moreover, public remarks were surveyed from all stakeholders, including enterprises, companies, customers, and unforced client institutions, in order to acquire their perspectives.  
  • When the new provision of Section 6(1) (a) is counted, customers will not be deceived by the bogus affirmations of manufacturers concerning the content of blended foods and cosmetics.

Industrial consumer

  • “Industrial consumer” means the consumer who buys packaged items directly from the manufacturer or from an importer or from the wholesale vendor for use by that industry and the package shall have a precept, not for retail sale.

Institutional Consumer

  • “Institutional consumer” means the institution which purchases packaged items enduring a declaration ‘not for retail sale’, directly from the manufacturer or from an importer or from the wholesale dealer for usage by that institution and not for commercial or trade objectives.

Consumer Awareness

  • Consumer Awareness is a process of assuring the purchaser or buyer learns about the data and information about items, products, administrations, and buyers' rights. 
  • Consumer awareness is substantial with the purpose that purchasers can decide on the most acceptable option and agree on flawless judgement.

Meaning of Protection in Legal Metrology

  • “Protection” represents the utilisation of reading acquired from any weight or measure, for the objective of deciding any action which is needed to be taken to protect the well-being of any human being or animal, or to shield any commodity, vegetation or thing, whether individually or collectively.

Way Forward

It aspires to ease accomplishing trade by lowering the adherence obligation to industries without compromising the welfare of consumers by proclaiming the details pertinent to consumers. 

Related Initiatives

  1. Consumer Protection Act, 2019
  2. Draft Food Safety And Standards (Labelling And Display) Regulation.
  3. Consumer Welfare Fund
  4. Central Consumer Protection Council
  5. Consumer Protection Rules, 2021
  6. Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020
  7. National Consumer Day

 

“As per Consumer Protection Act, 2019, state Commissions will have the jurisdiction to entertain complaints where the value of the goods, services or products paid as consideration to the seller exceeds 50 lakh rupees but does not exceed two crore rupees.”

Unique Selling Proposition or USP is a very important concept used during the time when a company promotes its product through its advertisements on both TVs as well as print media which eventually attracts a consumer to buy a particular product. The key to boosting the sales of the product effectively through advertising is to highlight the USP of the product prominently. Unless you highlight the USP, consumers will not be tempted to buy your product. Every product should have its own USP, which makes it stand apart from other products in a similar category.