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    Relief for FMCG after Centre relaxes packaging norms, lets companies use existing inventory

    Synopsis

    Manufacturers will have to stamp or paste stickers declaring details of the correct month and year of manufacturing and packing, according to an order issued by the Consumer Affairs Ministry. Without this relaxation, packaging material would have been wasted because they are not allowed to put stickers to change the details.

    NEW DELHI: The government has allowed companies to use by March next year inventories of packaging material or wrappers with manufacturing dates already printed, which is a big relief for the FMCG sector which suffered during the lockdowns.

    Manufacturers will have to stamp or paste stickers declaring details of the correct month and year of manufacturing and packing, according to an order issued by the Consumer Affairs Ministry. Without this relaxation, packaging material would have been wasted because they are not allowed to put stickers to change the details.

    “The relaxation will be applicable to those manufacturers or packers who have to declare the month and year of manufacturing and packing under the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011,” said an official.

    He said the government, earlier in April this year had accorded this relaxation to companies till September 30, 2020.

    “This has been extended till the end of this fiscal. Due to the prevalent condition of COVID-19, leading to the lockdown in entire country for some time, the manufacturing activities have come to a grinding halt. Consequently, the inventory of packaging material with pre-printed date of manufacturing is not expected to be exhausted with the time limit prescribed under the rules,” he said.

    Under the laws, in normal circumstances, relabelling or putting stickers on earlier dates are not permitted.

    “This decision will help companies and retailers prevent any wastage of existing stock of preprinted packaging material, whose cost has risen by 25% after the spread of Covid-19. The sales have picked up in the third quarter and we expect the inventories to exhaust before we expected,” the official said.

    The government recently ordered the use jute bags for 100% packaging of food grains and 20% sugar. This will help promote use of environment friendly jute besides boosting the industry.

    “Proper packaging enhances quality and life of product. We keep tight monitoring on the way companies package their products before hitting the markets,” the official said.
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