By Rupin Chopra and Apalka Bareja
Legal Metrology refers to the part of metrology which treats units of weighment and measurement, methods of weighment and measurement and weighing and measuring instruments, in relation to the mandatory technical and legal requirements which have been formulated with the object to ensure public guarantee from the viewpoint of public security and accuracy of the weighments and measurements.
Labeling and packaging requirements form a part of Legal Metrology Laws wherein it is mandatory for the producer, manufacturer, packager or marketer of the goods to affix a label with mandatory declarations on the packaged goods. A Label means and includes a description or a sign which is written or printed on a packaged good that is put to retail sale with the purpose to ensure consumer awareness.
The Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) was established by the Bangladesh Government to govern standardization of goods and services, introduction of international unit system of weights and measures and promotion of metrology services, promotion of quality assurance activities, rendering testing facilities for services and products, preparation, promotion and adoption of national standards.
The Laws on Labeling and Packaging in Bangladesh
There are distinct set of rules to govern the labeling of food and non-food products in Bangladesh namely, the Packaged Food Labeling Regulations, 2017 and the Bangladesh Standards of Weights and Measures (Commodity packing) Rules, 2007 (Amended 2012) along with Bangladesh Import Order 2015-2018 govern the labeling and packaging requirements for goods in Bangladesh.
Requirements for labeling under the Packaged Food Labeling Act, 2017
This Act prescribes declarations to be used on the labels of Packaged Food Products.
- The Language used on the labels should be Bengali however, in the case of imported products, if the label is in a foreign language, a sub-label should also be attached in Bengali.
- Mandatory declarations regarding the presence of additives (their common name, chemical name, net-weight, adequate guidelines for usage, expiry date);
- Declarations specifying the ingredients used in the product and presence of nutrients;
- Name and full address of the office of the manufacturer and/or packer and/or marketer of the product;
- Declaration for food packaging labeling that cause allergens or intolerant reactions;
- Symbolic declaration for vegetarian and non-vegetarian food products;
- Label clearly mentioning the expression “Genetically Modified Food”, if the agricultural product is produced through a change in hereditary traits.
Food Safety Act, 2013
The Act provides for the establishment of a Regulatory Authority, Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA) and to monitor and regulate the activities related to manufacture, import, processing, storage, distribution and sale of food. The BFSA along with BSTI has prescribed a set standards of food quality under this Act.
Bangladesh Standards of Weights and Measures (Commodity Packing) Rules, 2007 (Amended 2012)
Bangladesh Standards of Weights and Measures (Commodity Packing) Rules, 2007 (Amended 2012) include rules for packaged product selling in the retail market, wholesale market, import and export.
- Declaration mentioning the name and contacts of importers must be labeled on the packet, in case of imported goods. Standard units of the product must be mentioned, and if the unit is not standard, the importer will convert that to a standard unit and add an extra sticker on the packet.
- The manufacturing date must be printed on the packet.
- All the additional information, including retail price, must be added with a sticker on the packet.
- There are no different rules for imported processed food, indicating that the exporting country will follow their packaging weight and measure rules for production and export to Bangladesh.
Bangladesh Import Policy Order 2015-2018
The Import Policy Order 2015-2018 is applicable on all kinds of goods that are imported into Bangladesh. The Policy extensively mandates the requirement of use of H.S. Codes, obtaining the ‘country of origin’ certificate from the concerned department, license and licensing procedure for all imports in to the country.
Labeling requirements in Bangladesh are similar to the ones operating in India, though it must be mentioned here that the packaging law in India specifically provides for penalties in case of non-compliance or failure to make mandatory declarations on the package. Additionally, the laws in Bangladesh do not provide different rules for imported processed food products specifically which indicates that the exporting country will follow their rules and mandates. A codified law on labeling requirements ensure quality of the products to the consumers while also providing transparency from the producers, manufacturers, importers and/or marketers and hence, is a step towards attaining consumer awareness.
 Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards, FAIRS Annual Country Report, Global Agricultural Information Network