KARACHI: All food items imported from other countries will need to have at least 66percent of the shelf-life, as the Ministry of Commerce has notified ban on import of all short expiry edible products along with new labeling requirements for import of food items.
Shelf life refers to the period between the date of manufacture and the date of expiry, as printed on the label. The move gains significance since there have been instances of foodstuff landing in Pakistan with very little time before their expiry.
According to the amendments notified in the Import Policy Order, 2016, only those edible goods are allowed to be imported, which have at least 66 percent of the shelf life remaining from the date of manufacturing. Earlier, edible goods with 50 percent of the shelf-life were allowed to be imported.
Moreover, the ingredients and details of the product (e.g. nutritional facts, usage instructions etc.) of the food products are required to be printed in Urdu and English languages on the consumer packaging. The logo of the Halal certification body is also required to be printed on the consumer packaging.
The amendment in the Import Policy Order, notified vide SRO No. 237(I)/2019, has categorically mentioned that the ingredients details and Halal logo must not be in the form of a sticker, overprinting, stamp or scratched labeling.
The step would ensure clarity on ingredients of the imported products in Urdu language for benefit of the consumers.
Further, the shipments of all edible products are required to be accompanied by a ‘Halal Certificate’ issued by a Halal Certification Body, accredited with an accrediting body, which is a member of International Halal Accreditation Forum (IHAF) or Standards Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries (SMIIC).