NEW DELHI: Four months after Maggi got bogged down in a credibility crisis, the government is mulling new rules mandating the printing of helpline numbers on labels of packaged food to register complaints by consumers against sub-standard or mis-branded products sold in the market in violation of the Food Safety and Standards Act.
The Centre has begun working on a comprehensive review of packaging, labelling and claims regulation. Sources said since enforcement is primarily the responsibility of states, the rules require thorough examination in consultation with the Ministry of Consumer Affairs. “If finalised, a toll free number will be printed on the label of the packaged food products for registration of complaints by consumers,” sources said. He added that the government is also looking for a standard format to print the ingredient label instead of using various terms which are often confusing.
The Centre is also looking into labs that have inadequate resources for testing food samples or carrying out analysis of all the parameters prescribed for different food commodities. The government will soon have uniform testing parameters and methodology to standardise the testing of food samples.
FOOD TESTING LABS TO BE UPGRADED
The Centre has begun revamping food testing laboratories. Soon, all accredited labs will be duty-bound to follow the same rules or face de-accreditation. Some labs do not have required chemicals for carrying out analysis. These concerns will also be addressed.