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FSSAI License Regulations on Food Packaging

The New FSSAI License Regulations on Food Packaging in 2023

 FSSAI License Regulations on Food Packaging 

Government agencies globally enforce stringent regulations governing food labelling and package design. In India, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) serves as the authority that mandates food labelling standards. Food Producers must comply with these standards and obtain a Food Business license when they introduce a new food product or update its packaging.

Given the numerous FSSAI label standards, inadvertent errors can occur. Any unintentional breach of FSSAI food labelling standards and failure to secure a Food Business license may lead to consequences such as fines, penalties, product recalls, or delays in product launches. However, a thorough understanding of  FSSAI labelling standards can help navigate these challenges and ensure compliance for your goods.

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New FSSAI Packaging Guidelines

Recognizing the pivotal role of packaging in the food industry and its impact on food safety, the FSSAI has introduced distinct packaging regulations for obtaining an FSSAI License online. These novel packaging standards have been delineated separately from the existing labelling regulations, and a dedicated Scientific Panel for food packaging will oversee their implementation.

Purposes of Updated FSSAI Packaging Guidelines

The primary objectives of the revised FSSAI Packaging Guidelines are to shield food from microbiological, chemical, physical, and atmospheric contamination, ensuring the preservation of food and the protection of customer health.

  • Effective packaging further ensures that the sensory attributes or composition of the food remain unchanged during the packaging process.
  • The significance of packaging lies in its crucial role in enhancing food safety, prolonging shelf life, and consequently contributing to improved food security.

Click here to learn more about Difference between the FSSAI License and FSSAI Registration

General Requirements for Pre-Packaged Foods

All pre-packaged foods must feature labelling following the regulations unless otherwise specified.

  • In cases where a food product is sold through e-commerce or other direct selling methods, consumers must be provided with the mandatory label requirements outlined in these regulations before the sale, excluding specific details such as batch number, best before date, use by date, expiry date, and date of manufacturing/packing.
  • Descriptions or presentations of pre-packaged food on labels must avoid any false, misleading, or deceptive elements that could create an erroneous impression about its character.
  • While labels may include written, printed, or graphic information, they should not conflict with the stipulations outlined in these regulations.
  • Declarations required under these regulations on the label should be in either English or Hindi in the Devnagri script. However, additional languages are permitted, provided they do not contradict the information in English or Hindi.
  • Labels on pre-packaged foods should be affixed securely to prevent separation from the container.
  • The contents on the label must be clear, unambiguous, and easily legible under normal conditions of purchase and use. It should be prominent, conspicuous, and indelible for consumer convenience.
  • In cases where a package includes an outside container or wrapper displayed for retail sale, it must contain all required declarations. An exception is made if the container or wrapper is transparent, allowing easy readability of declarations on the package.

Note: In the context of transparent multi-unit packages containing several retail units, at least one retail unit’s label must be visible, showcasing the necessary declarations outlined in these regulations.

Labelling Requirements for FSSAI Packaged Foods

Continuing the general requirements, specific information must be displayed on every package’s label. This detailed information is crucial for consumers, facilitating informed choices and ensuring compliance with food safety standards. Here’s a breakdown of the essential elements required on the label:

Name of Food

  • The front of every food package should prominently display the name of the food, reflecting its true nature.
  • In cases where a food is specified by essential composition under Food Safety and Standards Regulations, the provided name must be used to establish its identity.
  • In the absence of a specified name, a common or usual name or an accompanying description of the true nature of the food is acceptable.
  • Additionally, the use of “coined,” “fanciful,” “brand,” or “trade name” is allowed, provided it complies with the Food Safety & Standards (Advertising and Claims) Regulation 2018.

List of Ingredients: Nutritional Information

  • A comprehensive list of ingredients must be provided, along with nutritional information.
  • Declaration regarding whether the product is vegetarian or non-vegetarian.
  • A clear indication of the presence of food additives.

FSSAI Logo and License Number

  • The FSSAI logo and license number are included for authenticity.

Net Quantity, Retail Sale Price, and Consumer Care Details

  • The label should specify the net quantity of the product.
  • Retail sale price information to guide consumers in making purchasing decisions.
  • Consumer care details for any inquiries or concerns.
  • Lot/Code/Batch Identification and Date Marking
  • Each package must carry a unique identification code, batch, or lot number for traceability.
  • Clear date marking to indicate the date of manufacturing or packing.

Labelling of Imported FSSAI Foods

  • For imported foods, the country of origin must be clearly mentioned.
  • Instructions for use should be provided to guide consumers in handling and consuming the product.
  • Declaration Regarding Food Allergens
  • A declaration regarding common food allergens to alert consumers with allergies.
  • Compliance with these detailed labelling requirements ensures transparency and contributes to packaged foods’ overall safety and quality assurance.

Principal Display Panel

The FSSAI provides guidelines for the principal display panel to ensure consumers understand packaged goods and comply with regulations. This panel is crucial for presenting key details.

Information Placement:

  • All FSSAI-required information should be on the principal display panel.

Two options for organizing information:

  • Grouping all details.
  • Separating pre-printed and online/non-pre-printed information.

Area of Principal Display Panel:

  • Size criteria based on the package’s shape:
  • Rectangular packages: 40% of height and width.
  • Cylindrical, round, oval packages: 40% of height and average circumference.
  • Other shapes: 20% of the total surface area.
  • Packages of 10 cubic centimetres or less may use a card or tape as the display panel.

These guidelines aim to standardize information presentation, ensuring consumers can easily access and comprehend essential details.

Mandatory Declarations: Clear Information on Ingredients and Additives

  • FSSAI regulations stress the importance of transparently communicating packaged food composition. Key aspects of mandatory declarations include:

Prominent Display of Ingredients and Additives:

  • Foods with Schedule II listed ingredients/additives must display this information prominently.
  • Numerals and letters for these declarations should be at least 3mm (except for small packages up to 30 cm2).

Exception for Small Packages:

  • For small packages with a surface area of up to 30cm2 containing sweeteners, numerals and letters should be at least 1mm.

Flexibility for Food Authority:

  • The Food Authority can modify, delete, or add ingredients, additives, and declarations.
  • These declarations empower consumers with clear information, ensuring visibility and readability for an informed consumer base.

Exemptions from Certain Labelling Requirements: Tailored for Small Packages

  • Recognizing diverse packaging sizes, FSSAI offers exemptions for certain labelling requirements when a package’s surface area is 100 square centimetres or less. Key points include:

Scope of Exemption:

  • Packages with a surface area of up to 100 square centimetres are exempt from specific labelling requirements.

Exempted Elements:

  • Exemptions include ingredients, lot/batch numbers, nutritional information, irradiated food labelling, food additives declaration, license number/logo, importer’s name/address, and instructions for use.

Multi-Unit Packaging Alternative:

  • Though exempted individually, the required information must be provided on multi-unit packages.
  • These exemptions recognize practical challenges for small packages, balancing regulatory compliance with packaging practicality. Manufacturers should know these exemptions to ensure the necessary information is on multi-unit packaging for transparency and consumer awareness.

Labelling Requirements for Non-Retail Containers 

On the Container or Label:

  • Name of the Food: Clearly mention the name.
  • Net Quantity: Specify the quantity.

FSSAI Logo and License Number: Include the FSSAI logo and license number.

  • Date Marking: Provide the date.
  • Lot Number: Include a lot number.
  • Manufacturer/Packer Details: Include name and address, and for imported packages, country of origin.

Accompanying Documents:

If not on the label, provide the following in the accompanying documents:

  • List of Ingredients
  • Declaration of Veg or Non-Veg
  • Nutritional Information
  • Exempted if in Barcode/GTIN:
  • Certain details can be in Barcode/GTIN, including:
  • Brand Owner’s Address
  • License Number (if different from the brand owner)

Special Statement:

  • Every non-retail package must clearly state: “NOT FOR RETAIL SALE.”

Labelling of Food Additives 

Every package of a food additive for retail sale must follow the Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2020, excluding specific sub-regulations.

Additional Information on Label

Use the specific name mentioned in the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011, or, if not listed, use the name from international regulations or a common/commercial name. For synthetic food colours, including the chemical name and colour index. If multiple additives are present, list them in descending order of composition.

Other Mandatory Declarations:

  • Mark packages with “FOR USE IN FOOD.”
  • For mixtures of flavourings, use a common expression like “flavour” or “flavouring,” qualified as “natural,” “nature-identical,” “artificial,” or a combination. The qualifier doesn’t apply to flavour modifiers.

Labelling for Non-Retail Sale: Packages of food additives for non-retail sale should follow Chapter 4 and Regulation 10 of these regulations, excluding a specific clause.

  • Superseding Provisions: These regulations supersede any conflicting labelling requirements in regulations under the Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006.

The official document of FSSAI related to FOOD SAFETY AND STANDARDS (LABELLING AND DISPLAY) REGULATIONS, 2020 attached here for reference:

FSSAI License Regulations on Food Packaging

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