Ministry of Commerce tightens conditions for edible imports

KARACHI: All food items imported from other countries need to have at least 66 percent of the shelf-life, as the Ministry of Commerce has notified ban on import of all short expiry edible products.

According to a notification dated June 27, 2019, edible goods having less than 66 percent shelf life could not be imported from July 01, 2019. Earlier, edible goods with 50 percent of the shelf-life were allowed to be imported.

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.

It may be recalled, the government notified labelling requirements for the import of edible products in February this year. However, the traders, importers and multinational companies dealing in fast moving consumer goods approached the Commerce Division, seeking more time for compliance with the new conditions.

Consequently, the government put off implementation of the labelling guidelines on the import of edible products till the start of July 2019.

It was also proposed that in order to comply with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations, similar conditions should also apply to the edible products manufactured locally with effect from July 1, 2019 and for that necessary instructions should be issued to the Pakistan Standard Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) and provincial food authorities.

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