The food authority is missing out on a key point in the rule of ‘Best Before Date’. Let me explain with an example. Let’s say a family bought five packets of 1/2 kg sweets on 1st November, which has a ‘Best Before Date’ of 4th November as mentioned on that sweets tray in that shop. The family then sends these boxes to their dear ones in the next two days.
Three families started consuming the sweets the same day or the next day that is either 3rd or 4th November. But the other two families decided to pass that same box to their relatives, which took a day or two or maybe more. And this could happen one more time. Passing further to their servants, car-washer, gardener, driver, or the security guard.
The final consumer of these sweets doesn’t have any idea when it was bought, and what is the ‘Best Before Date’, and they start consuming. If they get a smell from the sweets, they throw away the box giving bad words to the person who gave them the sweets. Who is not at fault, because even he didn’t have any idea of the dates because he did not open the sweets box to check the freshness. Even if there is no smell, and the sweets are about to become inconsumable in the next few hours or a day, still they are consuming a semi-bad product which can cause affect their health.
In my opinion, the food authority should come up with a rule of mentioning the ‘Best Before Date’ on the sweet boxes. If all the branded packaged consumables like chocolates, snacks, ready to eat, and all have an expiry date or Best Before Date, then why not sweets, why not unbranded packets or boxes.
The consumers would be happy with such a rule, but the catering industry would resist for four reasons I assume.
1) First of all it increases extra costs and extra work. But if they buy a numbering rubber stamp, and just stamp the month and date, then it would be economic and easy.
2) It makes their job a little risky. If they give in printing/writing ‘Best Before Date’ on the boxes itself, and if by any chance the quality was bad, someone can file a lawsuit against that shop because they have evidence.
3) Someone could store those sweets for 10 days purposefully to make them inconsumable, and then buy the same sweets from that same shop again and then replace the fresh sweets with the bad ones. Very easy to frame someone just out of revenge or business rivalry.
4) The lower staff from the authority could start fining these shops for not implementing the rules, the corrupt ones would set a hafta, and those who are already giving hafta would be asked to increase the amount from this month.
People can come up with 10 different ways of doing one thing in our country. Here is the best one which the association of the industry usually tries. Just bribe the politician and a few higher authority in the organisation for not bringing any such rules. If at all they are forced to bring in one, make it light, keep some loopholes. In my opinion, no rule is watertight, But I appreciate the steps taken by the FSSAI. It’s the beginning of a good change.