Cement makers told to print expiry dates

In Business
April 17, 2024



ISLAMABAD:

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 manufacturers to disclose the “manufacturing/packaging and expiry/best before” dates on their cement bags.

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

“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,” it said.

The policy note suggested 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 exports, creating information disparity and discriminating against domestic consumers.

Currently, all types of cement in Pakistan must adhere to the 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 purchased.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 17th, 2024.

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