Pakistan: Imported food items’ labels must be in Urdu & English

Ministry of Commerce & Textile amending the import policy has made it compulsory on the importers that the consumer packaging of the imported food items should have label printed both in Urdu & English languages giving details of the product including nutritional fact, usage instructions etc.

According to a notification SRO 237 (1)/2019 issued by the Ministry recently, it has also been asked the importers that their imported items should have logo of the Halal certification body on the consumer packaging and the labels should not be in the form of a sticker, overprinting, stamp or scratched labeling.

Under the new order, the imported shipment shall also 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).

Reacting to these new instructions, Pakistan FMCG Importers Association (PFIA) Chairman Anjum Nisar, Senior Vice Chairman Muhammad Ejaz Tanveer, Nafees Ahmad Barry, Secretary General Ali Tariq Matto and others said that they have no objection to said notification but importers must be given some reasonable and fair time allowing all importers and foreign suppliers to adapt to new requirements.

“Thousands of containers (Full Container Load FCLs) are on their way to importing countries and thousands of others are in the pipeline so it is impossible to stop this process with immediate effect and print new labels, they added.

They said that the notification also requires certain clarifications such as why to print usage method on every product as water being imported does not need to tell the consumer usage method. Similarly, they said it should also be clarified that which products should have Halal logos. PFIA leadership urged the government to always consult the stakeholders before issuing any such order and also allow ample time before its implementation. They suggested that the importers should be given time till July 31, 2019, for implementation of the fresh notification.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019