New Delhi: The government has decided to give more time to food processors to implement the labelling norm under which every packaged food should mention on its label both nutritional value and ingredients from 19 March.
The Health Ministry had issued the notification on 19 September 2008, making it clear what should be written on the labels of packaged food products. The implementation of the new rule was to be made after six months of the notification.
However, the ministry last week issued an advisory to states requesting them “not to book cases for violation of the provisions of the notification during initial period of three months of implementation.”
In a letter addressed to health secretaries of all the states and union territories, G Balachandran, Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Health said that a persuasive strategy could go a long way in facilitating smooth transition to the new nutritional labeling regime.
“The focus should primarily be on collecting information about the manufacturers who violate these provisions and writing to them advisory letters which provide information about the labeling regulations,” he said.
The Centre is of the view that the new regulations should be “carefully enforced” through persuasion and education of the manufacturers, retailers and consumers, rather than through penal action in the initial phase.