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CCP Urges Expiry Date Labeling on Cement Bags for Consumer Safety

In a bid to enhance consumer safety and transparency in the cement industry, the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has issued a Policy Note recommending amendments to the Pakistan Standard Specification for all types of cement. The note, issued under Section 29 of the Competition Act, 2010, targets the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA).

CCP Urges Expiry Date Labeling on Cement Bags for Consumer Safety

The Policy Note specifically urges the inclusion of mandatory labeling requirements for cement manufacturers to disclose vital information such as ‘manufacturing/packaging and expiry/best before’ dates on their cement bags. This move comes in response to the CCP’s observation that the absence of such information poses significant risks to consumers and may lead to the purchase of expired cement, compromising the integrity of construction projects.

Cement, being inherently hygroscopic, begins to degrade in strength after 4 to 6 weeks of storage in bags under normal conditions, a concern exacerbated by adverse weather conditions or high humidity. Despite these risks, cement manufacturers in Pakistan do not currently print manufacturing/packaging and expiry/best before dates on their cement bags.

The non-disclosure of this critical information not only misleads consumers but also creates an unfair disparity in information between domestic and international markets. While Pakistani cement exporters comply with marking requirements for exported quantities, domestic consumers are left uninformed about the freshness of the cement they purchase.

Aligning Pakistan’s standards with international labeling practices is seen as a crucial step by the CCP to ensure consistency and transparency in the domestic market. Moreover, mandatory labeling is expected to empower consumers to make informed choices, enhance competition among brands, and improve consumer confidence in the quality of cement purchase.

The CCP emphasizes that the omission of material information constitutes deceptive marketing, impairing 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 industry.

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In line with this advisory, the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) and its members have been urged to prioritize consumer safety and satisfaction. They are required to ensure that all packaging clearly displays the ‘manufacturing/packaging and expiry/best before’ dates of their products, thereby contributing to a safer and more transparent cement market in Pakistan.

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