Following the Centre’s advisory to States banning re-use of tin and plastic containers for edible oil sale, trade body Saurashtra Oil Mills Association (SOMA) has raised an objection, terming the Ministry of Consumer Affairs’ diktat impractical, pushing up costs and favouring the tinplate makers.
In a letter to Nitin Patel, Deputy Chief Minister – Gujarat, Sameer Shah, President, SOMA, said, “This is an impractical decision. This will push up the cost of new tin containers due to sudden spurt in demand against its supply as there are only three-four tinplate manufacturers in the country.”
Shah also alleged that the decision by the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs appeared to be lacking logic and seems to have been taken under the influence of the tinplate makers’ lobby in their interest. Shah also stated that the rule existed for more than three decades, but was never implemented because of its impracticality.
In the letter dated July 6, Shah explained that usually the consumer packs of premium edible oils such as groundnut oil, mustard oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, among others, were available only in new containers.
“Only the bulk consumers of cottonseed oil, palmolein re-use the containers. But these containers are made with special coating under specific guidelines, hence there are negligible chances of hazardous materials coming in contact with the oils,” Shah said. Shah expressed fears that the implementation of the rule will escalate the cost of existing tin containers from ₹70 per unit to ₹100 due to probable shortage.
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, has stated that oil crushing units were required to use fresh tinplate containers for edible oil packaging and not to re-use tin or plastic containers.
The Department of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Government of India, had issued an advisory on July 2, 2020 asking all States to ensure strict compliance with Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011, wherein the re-use of tin and plastic containers for edible oils and fats is restricted.
However, edible oil crushers body, Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA) had last week appreciated the move by the Centre and pitched for strict enforcement of restrictions on sale of loose edible oils and re-use of tin and plastic containers to ensure quality.