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Display best before date for loose sweets or pay upto Rs 2 lakhs fine : FDA

Intensifying surveillance amid the festive season, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials have told sweet shop owners to display a ‘best before date’ for loose sweets kept in trays/containers.

Pune FDA joint commissioner (food) Shivaji Desai said sweet shop owners and others in the food business can decide on the ‘best before date’ depending on the nature of the product and local conditions.

“An indicative list of the shelf life of various types of sweets is given in the guidance note on the safety and quality of traditional milk products. The list is available on the FSSAI website,” said Desai.

Not abiding by the norm may attract a fine up to Rs1 lakh for sweet shops with an annual turnover of less than Rs 12 lakh, and a fine of up to Rs2 lakh for those with an annual turnover of Rs12 lakh and above, said officials.

Apex food regulatory body, the Food Safety and Standards Association of India (FSSAI), in a notification in February 2020, said the norm will be effective across the country from June 1, 2020.

“We ensure compliance throughout the year. However, we intensify surveillance during the festive season when sweets are sold and consumed in large quantities and there are higher chances of norms being flouted,” said Desai said.

The owner of a sweet shop in Wanoworie said every sweet made of or containing milk solids should be consumed in 24 hours. “That is a basic rule consumers need to follow,” he said.

Paediatrician Sharad Agarkhedkar, also former state president of the Indian Medical Association, said eating sweets long after they have been made can cause food poisoning or vomiting and nausea. Health activists, too, said an expiry date will help consumers stay safe.

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