Red Herring

The ambitious new regulations on food labelling and advertising could turn out to be an April fools joke, as the trade pushes to delay its implementation, while the Health Ministry pussyfoots the issue.
The regulations, due to come into force on April 1, sets out new legal standards for the labelling and advertising of food items sold in the local market.rn

rnOf the Rs. 202 billion Sri Lankas food and beverage market, officials estimate atleast 40 per cent belong to the value added industry, where the items go through some form of labeling and packaging. rn

rnWhile the Health Ministry claims the revised regulations were discussed with the local trade for four years since its draft stage in 2000, many in the trade seem to consider the whole thing a rude surprise.rn

rnGiven the road usually taken by well meaning legislation in Sri Lanka, the only surprise probably is that this set of rules made it so far, but already polite requests for lquote a grace period are trickling in to the Food Advisory C