Indicate net quantity, not temperature details at time of packing: Government tells edible oil makers, packers

The government on Thursday directed edible oil manufacturers and packagers and importers to list the net amount by volume and weight on labels rather than temperature at the time of packaging as part of efforts to curb unfair trade practices.

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs said in a statement that the entities were given until January 15, 2023 to correct the labels.

She said that since the weight of edible oil varies with different temperatures, companies have been asked to pack the commodity without mentioning the temperature and to ensure that the quantity declared on the packaging in terms of volume and mass must be correct.

The move comes amid growing consumer complaints against edible oil brands regarding unfair trade practices.

Under the Statutory Measurements (Packaged Goods) Rules 2011, it is necessary to declare the net quantity in terms of standard units of weight or measure apart from other declarations on all prepackaged goods for the benefit of consumers.

According to the provisions laid down in the Rules, the net quantity of edible oil, vanaspati, ghee, etc. shall be declared either by weight or by volume, and if it is declared in volume, the equivalent weight of the commodity shall be declared compulsorily.

“It is notable that industries proactively report temperature while declaring net amount in volume,” the statement said.

Companies declare the net amount of edible oil by volume, stating the temperature at the time of filling with units of mass. Few manufacturers envision temperatures up to 60°C.

According to the ministry, it has been observed that this declaration of the net amount of edible oil, vanaspati ghee etc. in terms of volume keeping volume constant (eg 1 liter) at different temperatures with mass, which varies when packaging mentions higher temperature .

The weight of soybean edible oil may vary at different temperatures while maintaining the volume of one liter.

Ideally, edible oil should be filled at 30°C. If it is packaged at 21°C then the weight should be stated as 919g and if it is packaged at 60°C it will be 892.6g.

This will ensure that the consumer gets the correct amount in the package at the time of purchase, she added.

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