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Mar, 03 2014

Food labelling raises fresh concerns

Makes Restaurateurs and importers concerned.

Restaurateurs and importers, who are dependent on imported raw material for their fare, are concerned about the labelling of imported foods forcing them to hike their prices by 30-40 per cent. Many importers, who have been grappling with delays in getting the raw material, have shut shop.

Several lots of food items are stuck at various entry points due to the inadequacy of information about the material [as mandated by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)].

Sources in the industry informed that about 400 containers, estimated to be worth approximately Rs 700-800 crore, have been held up at the entry points like airports which contain potato pellets, pulses, processed foods, biscuits, frozen foods (including seafood), vegetables, herbs, cheese, meat and sauces. But importers have stopped importing chocolates. 

The norms require makers of packaged food items to list the contents in English, the ingredients used and their nutritional values, and the producer’s name, address and country of origin.

Industry experts explained that this could have been done to discourage imports to save dollars, given the economic situation (the fiscal deficit).

Amit Lohani, convener, Forum of Indian Food Importers (FIFI), said, “Despite several representations by us, the issue remained unresolved. We represent about 400 importers. Of these, about 17 importers have shut down their businesses.”

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