INDIA – The Central government revised rules related to the packaging of edible oil in a bid to prevent quantity-related fraud.
According to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, the new regulations are directed to ensure that consumers get the right quantity in the package at the time of purchase, as the weight of edible oil varies at different temperatures.
The government advised all edible oil manufacturers/packers/importers to declare the net quantity of the cooking oil in volume without temperature, in addition to declaring the same in weight.
The Ministry said in a statement: “Under the Legal Metrology [Packaged Commodities] Rules 2011, it is mandatory to declare the net quantity in terms of standard units of weight or measure, apart from other declarations, on all pre-packaged commodities in the interest of consumers.”
These new rules require the declaration of the net quantity of edible oil, vanaspati ghee, and others either in weight or volume while the equivalent weight of the commodity also needs to be declared if the net quantity is declared in volume.
The Ministry added: “The manufacturers/packers/importers are declaring net quantity of edible oil etc. in volume, mentioning the temperature at the time of packing, along with the units of mass. Few manufacturers were depicting the temperature as high as 600°C.
“It has been observed that such declaration of net quantity of edible oil, vanaspati ghee etc. in terms of volume keeping the volume fixed, for example one liter, at different temperatures with mass, which differs, when the packaging mentions a higher temperature.
“The weight of soya bean edible oil may be different at different temperatures, keeping the volume one liter.”
The Consumer Affairs department urged firms to provide the net quantity in the units of volume without mentioning temperature with the weight of the product by 15 January 2023.
This regulation come at a time when there are increased food and beverage counterfeit cases, particularly involving alcohol and edible oil.
In July, the authorities busted and confiscated thousands of liters of edible oil from at least three oil rings including Rajasthan and Jharkhand.
Along with the adulterated oil, many cans, boxes and packaging materials with branded company names were also recovered, indicating that the majority of this oil had been destined to be packed as branded products and sent to local retailers and distributors to be sold for consumer consumption.
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