Sweet shops must display best before date on items: FSSAI

Mumbai: The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued an order asking local mithai and sweet shop owners to display the manufacturing date and the 'best before' date on loose sweets sold in their shops in a move that will help ensure that the consumers are purchasing a fresh product. Senior officials said this order will come into effect from June 11.

“Further, in public interest and to ensure food safety, it has been directed that in case of non-packaged/loose sweets, the container or tray holding sweets at the outlet should display the 'date of manufacturing' and 'best before date' of the said products,” stated the order issued by FSSAI.

A senior official said that there were many instances of stale and expired sweets being sold in the market, due to which they have asked the shops to comply with such labelling orders to ensure that the consumption of such products does not pose a potential health hazard to the consumers.

Traditional milk-based sweets are generally prepared from khoya, chhena, sugar, flavours and colours, amongst other ingredients, and have a limited shelf life.

“Sweets, particularly those with milk products, have lesser a shelf life and are more prone to microbial growth. Therefore, sanitation and hygiene in their preparation and consumption within their shelf life are of utmost importance,” said an official.

“Moreover, there are issues of adulteration and use of sub-standard products," the regulator said in the note. Concerted efforts are needed to ensure food safety of sweets by stakeholders, including food businesses, consumers and regulatory authorities, the regulator said.

India has thousands of traditional mithai shops that sell packaged and loose traditional delicacies. Most sell dairy-based sweets prepared with khoya, desi ghee, cooking oil, refined sugar, and so on. Such sweets are sometimes found to be adulterated or are sold beyond their expiry dates.

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