Packaged commodities rules are applicable for all the products like food products, electronic gadgets, consumer durable as well as non-durable goods. Following are few things which every product manufacturer, or repacker or the person who put labels on products or marketer needs to follow :

  • PRICE: Pricing details to be mentioned on the actual product as well as at the online display of the product. (basically, the maximum retail price needs to be mentioned)
  • ORIGIN: Origin of the product (name of country) where the product was manufactured, processed or assembled.
  • Expiry Date: Expiry date, use by date should be mentioned on each product. Consumers should be aware of what they are consuming or use it is safe or not.
  • Swachh Bharat though the label is not mandatory, you are welcome to print this as well. (quality assurance purpose).
  • Barcodes, QR Codes, E-Codes on Product for quality assurance purpose.

Who Needs to Comply with this Packaged Commodities rules?

Both online and offline sellers, so in case you are selling online or offline any product please make sure it complies with the above norms. Additionally FSSAI Licence number should be printed on the food products.

Why this Packaged Commodities Rules came into the picture?

Suppose you are buying any product online at some discount, previously what used to happen was that no actual price was mentioned on the product, which means the discount you used to get was not legitimate.

Also to make sure the discounts that you are getting are correct and to promote fair practice in the e-commerce ecosystem. As per the data last year 50,760 complaints were made compared to last year 23,955. Most of the complaints were based on “payment refunds issues”.

However, we as Indian citizen looking for positive changes in the online ecosystem, complying to this will save from unnecessary hassles and penalties. As not complying to this includes fines ranging between 5-50 thousand and in some cases imprisonment, depending on the gravity of the crime.

The Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011

The Legal Metrology Act, 2009 came into effect on the 1st of April, 2011, replacing the Weights and Measures Act. The act was passed with the purpose of establishing and enforcing standards of weights and measures or aspects incidental to the same.

Under the Act, there are various rules, but a crucial arm of the act is the Packaged Commodities Rules, i.e. Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011 (hereinafter referred to as “Rules”).

The Department of Legal Metrology falls under the Department of Consumer Affairs and is therefore concerned with fair and honest practices in relation to all aspect of the trade.

The Rules deal with goods that are packaged and provide inter alia how declarations are to be made and what declarations are to be contained in a packaged commodity that is meant to be for sale.

Are all packaged commodities covered under the Rules?

Yes and no. While certain provisions are applicable for all packaged commodities there are certain rules that do not apply to certain kinds of commodities. Chapter II of the Rules, for example, deal with packages that are meant for retail sale, these provisions would not be applicable to certain kind of commodities.

Beyond the obvious, these rules would not be applicable for products meant for institutional or industrial consumers, i.e. those institutions who directly purchase from the manufacturer for use by the said institution OR consumers who buy the products directly from the manufacturer for use in that industry.

For example, a hospital buying packaged paint directly from a paint company would amount to an institutional consumer, and the products would not require the declarations that otherwise are required had the products been sold in the retail market.

Similarly, an automobile company that buys packaged paint and consumes it for the purposes of painting the vehicles would amount to an industrial consumer and the packaged paint would similarly not require the declarations otherwise required.

Further, commodities which contain the quantity of more than 25 kg or 25 liters (50 respectively in case cement and fertilizers) are exempted from the specific requirements of retail packages.

Additionally, the Rules do not apply to certain packages even if they satisfy all other criteria if:

  1. The package is sold by weight or measure and amounts to less than 10 ml or 10 gm (provided the product is not tobacco); or
  2. Package contains fast food items and is packed by hotels/restaurant/similar body; or
  3. Contains scheduled drugs and non scheduled drugs covered by the Drugs (Price Control) Order, 1995; or
  4. Agricultural farm produce in packages above 50 kgs; or
  5. A thread which is sold in the form of the coil to handloom weavers.

Which declarations are mandated under the Rules?

(a) The name and address of the manufacturer/importer/packer, as may be applicable. Note that if the manufacturer and packer are separate entities then their names are to be mentioned separately. Also it is to be noted that address to be mentioned is registered office address (this is a departure from the Weights and Measurements Act as well as the earlier iteration of the rules – this clarification and amendment came into being vided GSR 385 – E, dated 14th May 2015, with effect from 1st January 2016). It is to be noted that this declaration is waived if the product is or contains a food article, instead of the specific provision under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 will be applicable.

(b) The generic name of the commodity being sold.

(c) Price at which the product is being sold, inclusive of all taxes. Note that there is a specified format at which the same is to be declared, viz. “Maximum Retail Price ……………… Inclusive of all taxes” or “MRP ……………… Inclusive of all taxes”. The symbol of the currency is to be mentioned, i.e. the Rupee symbol, or Rs., or INR. Price is to be declared up to two decimal places.

(d) Date of manufacture/packaging/import, as the case may be, viz. the month and year. If the date of packaging and manufacture differ, separate declarations are to be given.

(e) The quantity of the commodity (explained in further detail later on)

(f) Name, address, telephone number, an e-mail address of the person or office who can be contacted for consumer grievances.

If you want to apply for Food License, you can go with FSSAI Food License.

Related Topic: FSSAI Rules For Food License