E-commerce cos asked to mention best before date, MRP on packaged food

E-commerce companies selling consumer packaged food will now have to mention expiry date and maximum retail price (MRP) as per the new notification issued by the ministry of consumer affairs. According to the notification, the rules would come in to force with effect from January 1, 2018. The notification by the ministry dated June 23, 2017, has amended the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011, aimed at enhancing consumer protection, but at the same time balancing with the requirement of ease of doing business, according to an official statement by the department of consumer affairs. The draft stated, “An e-commerce entity shall ensure that the mandatory declarations, except the month and year in which the commodity is manufactured or packed, shall be displayed on the digital and electronic network used for e-commerce transactions.” Specific mention has been made in the rules stating no person shall declare different MRPs or dual MRP on an identical prepackaged commodity, unless allowed under any law, benefiting consumers at large as various people were having complaints regarding the same depending upon different type of public places like cinema hall, airports and malls. Along with MRP, the product sold online needs to mention name and address of the manufacturer, packer and importer, name of the commodity, net content, retail sale price, consumer care complaint, and so on. The draft also says that to make it consumer-friendly, size of letters and numerals for making declarations was asked to increase so it can be easily read. Net quantity checking is made more scientific with the introduction of e-coding whereas, barcode / QR coding is allowed on voluntary basis.