West Bengal: Sweet sellers in trouble with new order to display ‘best before’ date for every product
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has directed sweet shops to mandatorily display the “Best Before Date” on the container or tray of non-packaged or loose sweets from October 1.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued an order making it mandatory for sweet shops to declare the expiry date or 'best before date' of all sweets available in the shop.
While buying sweets, you must now check the 'Best before date’ as it has been made compulsory for the sweet makers to mention it on the product. The new norm will be in force from October 1, 2020.
The FSSAI has also issued an order to mention the date of making the sweets on its labelling while selling them. But the order is not mandatory leaving it at the discretion of the shopkeepers to divulge the aforementioned piece of information about the date of manufacture.
However, the Federation of Sweets and Namkeen Manufacturers (FSNM), representing over 400 manufacturers of Indian sweets and namkeens had raised their doubts about the order and the regulatory authority later modified the order to state that the date of manufacture will not have to be mentioned.
The FSSAI had decided to issue this order after it cited instances of sweet shops selling stale and expired sweets which might pose a health risk to the consumers.
The sweet trader association in West Bengal has written a letter to chief minister Mamata Banerjee expressing their grief. The sweet traders scheduled a meeting with Consumer Protection minister Sadhan Pandey on October 1.
Sadhan Pandey said, “I will listen to the demands of the sweet traders. It has to be ensured that those who eat sweets and those who make sweets must not have any problem with the order”
Soumalya Bandyopadhyay, assistant director of FSSAI in the state, however, says, “Government instructions have been received. From now on, sweet shops have to declare the expiry date or 'best before date' of all sweets available in the shop. There is a lack of infrastructure in the state. Still, we have to look into the matter. State Health Department inspectors will assist the FSSAI.”
Dhiman Das, a former sweet seller of the city, says, “It is very difficult to change the expiry date of sweets on an everyday basis. The small sweet shops in the city will face a lot of difficulties. The business will be at stake.”
However, food safety officials have complained that the use of dyes and flavors in many sweets is offensive. The trend of running stale sweets in various sweet shops is also very common. Everyone should abide by the orders to maintain good hygiene.
The big sweet shops in the state are aware of the problem. However, Amitabh Modak of Rishra's former sweet shop says, “All these rules are fine for sweets like laddu-barfi. Why so much pressure on Sandesh and Rasgolla?”
The former sweet shop in Bhawanipur is already trying to follow the new rules in their various branches.
FSSAI has directed all FBOs dealing with sweets to comply with its order. It has also directed State food safety commissioners to ensure sweet shops comply with this directive.