Context: The Department of Consumer Affairs, Legal Metrology Division has notified a draft amendment to the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules 2011.
Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011
- It is mandatory under the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011 to ensure a number of declarations, such as:
- the name and address of the manufacturer/packer/importer,
- the country of origin,
- the common or generic name of the commodity,
- the net quantity,
- the month and year of manufacture,
- the Maximum Retail Price (MRP)
- Consumer care information.
- All pre-packaged commodities should also be inspected.
- The rules says that the principal display panel means the total surface area of a package containing the information required in accordance with these rules
- the pre-printed information could be grouped together and given in one place and the online information in another place.
- The rules provide that the declaration on the package must be legible and prominent.
- The consumers’ ‘right to be informed’ is violated when important declarations are not prominently displayed on the package.
- If there is more than one major product the rules states that the name or number of each product shall be mentioned on the package.
- This sub-rule is not applicable to mechanical or electrical commodities.
The proposed amendments
- The proposed amendments suggest that at least two prime components should be declared on the package’s front side along with the brand name.
- Currently, manufacturers list the ingredients and nutritional information only on the back of the packaging.
- This declaration must also include the percentage/quantity of the USPs of the product in the same font size as the declaration of the USPs.
- Mechanical or electrical commodities are excluded from this.
- When this new provision is added, consumers will not be misled by the fake claims of manufacturers relating to the content in blended foods and cosmetics.
- In July 2022, the Department of Consumer Affairs had notified the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities), (Second Amendment) Rules 2022.
- It 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.
- This amendment allows the industry to declare the elaborated information in the digital form through the QR Code.
Need for the amendments:
- It is common for consumers to assume that brands’ claims are accurate, but such claims are usually misleading.
- The front side of the package must contain the percentage of the composition of the unique selling proposition (USP).
- A USP also known as a unique selling point, is a marketing strategy designed to inform customers about the superiority of one’s own brand or product.
- Listing the USP of a product on the front of the package without disclosing its composition percentage violates consumer rights.
- Also, packages displaying key constituents must display a percentage of the content used to make the product.
- For example, 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 misleading.
Source: The Hindu