The Department of Consumer Affairs’ Legal Metrology Division recently notified a draft amendment to the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules 2011. All stakeholders have been asked to provide public comments on the draft notification.


About Legal Metrology

  • Legal Metrology is defined as the legal requirements that are required to be fulfilled for governance over the utilisation of standard weights and for any source of instruments that are utilised for the purpose of measurements.
  • The main aim of the Legal Metrology Packaged Commodities Rules, 2011 is to ensure that a public guarantee is being provided for the terms of determining the security and accuracy of Weighments and Measurements.
      • Establishment of standards of weight and measure is included in Union List (entry 50).
      • Enforcement of laws with respect to weights and measures (legal metrology) is mentioned in Concurrent list (entry 33A).


The Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules

  • Mandatory provisions under the 2011 Rules —
    • To ensure a number of declarations, such as –
        • The name and address of the manufacturer or packer or importer,
        • The country of origin,
        • The common or generic name of the commodity,
        • The net quantity,
        • The month and year of manufacture,
        • The Maximum Retail Price (MRP) and
        • Consumer care information.
    • All pre-packaged commodities should be inspected.
    • The principal display panel (in relation to a package), means the total surface area of a package containing the information required.
    • All the information should be grouped together and given in one place.
    • The declaration on the package must be legible and prominent.
    • The consumers’ ‘right to be informed’ is violated when important declarations are not prominently displayed on the package.
    • If there is more than one major product, the name or number of each product shall be mentioned on the package.
      • However, this is not applicable to mechanical or electrical commodities.
  • Concerns —
    • Many producers, packagers or importers do not properly label necessary declarations or prime constituents on the front of packaged commodities, which are deemed essential to be disclosed in order to protect consumer interests.
    • Consumers are misled by manufacturers’ false claims about the content of blended foods and cosmetics.
  • The proposed amendments —
    • The key constituents need to be mentioned on the product packaging, as many blended food and cosmetic products are sold in the market.
      • Currently, manufacturers list the ingredients and nutritional information only on the back of the packaging.
      • As noted in the draft notification, at least two prime components should be declared on the package’s front side along with the brand name.
    • Packages displaying key constituents must display a percentage of the content used to make the product, known as the unique selling proposition (USP). However, mechanical or electrical commodities are excluded from this.
      • As the name suggests, a USP is a marketing strategy designed to inform customers about the superiority of one’s own brand or product.
      • Listing the USP of a product on the front of the package without disclosing its composition percentage violates consumer rights. For example, if a brand sells aloe vera moisturiser, then what maximum percentage of the product should be aloe vera, otherwise, the product name is misleading.


Earlier amendment

  • In July 2022, the Department of Consumer Affairs had notified the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities), (Second Amendment) Rules 2022.
  • It allowed the electronic products to declare certain mandatory declarations through the QR Code for a period of one year, if not declared in the package itself.
  • This amendment allows the industry to declare the elaborated information in the digital form through the QR Code.