CCP issues policy note recommending mandatory disclosure of manufacturing and expiry dates on cement packaging

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DNA

ISLAMABAD, APRIL 16, 2024: The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has issued a Policy Note under Section 29 of the Competition Act, 2010 to the Ministry of Science and Technology and Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA). The Policy Note recommends them to amend the Pakistan Standard Specification for all five types of cement and make it mandatory for the cement manufacturers to disclose the ‘manufacturing/packaging and expiry/best before’ dates on their cement bags.

CCP observed that cement is inherently hygroscopic and begins to significantly lose its strength after 4 to 6 weeks of storage in bags in normal conditions and considerably sooner under adverse weather conditions or high humidity. The CCP has, therefore, noted with great concern that the cement manufacturers do not voluntarily print the manufacturing/packaging and expiry/best before dates on their cement bags.

The non-disclosure of such material information can mislead consumers and put them at risk of purchasing expired cement, which may compromise the strength and effectiveness of construction projects. The Policy Note suggests aligning Pakistan’s standards with international labelling practices to ensure consistency and transparency in the domestic market as Pakistani cement exporters comply with marking requirements for exported quantities, creating unfair information disparity discriminating against domestic consumers.

Currently, all types of cement in Pakistan must adhere to packaging standards set by the PSQCA. Printing manufacturing and expiry dates on cement bags is expected to empower consumers to make informed choices and enhance competition among brands. Additionally, it would facilitate just-in-time inventory management and improve consumer confidence in the quality of cement purchase.

The CCP emphasizes that the practice of omitting material information amounts to deceptive marketing, as it impairs consumers’ ability to make informed decisions. Therefore, the Commission advocates for the mandatory printing of expiry dates on cement bags to protect consumers’ interests and promote fair competition in the cement industry. As advisory has been accordingly sent to the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) and its members requiring them to prioritize consumer safety and satisfaction by ensuring that all packaging clearly displays the ‘manufacturing/packaging and expiry/best before’ dates of their products.