Trade Ministry to require English or Dhivehi food labels by June

The Trade Ministry has said that all food items manufactured or imported to the Maldives from June for the purpose of trade should contain information about a product in Dhivehi or English on its packaging.

The new requirements will call for information concerning the ingredients used, the weight or measurements of the finished product, the country and date of origin, shelf-life and instructions on usage to be included on any goods being sold.

”The deadline set for labelling of food items already imported to the Maldives in accordance with the above requirements is 31 May 2011,” said the Trade Ministry in a press release.

The ministry said this announcement was made under Article 12 of Act number 1/96 (Consumer Protection Act) and any business found by officials of violating the ruling will see its owner fined Rf100,000 (US$7843).

”If an imported food item does not include the above information, it should be labelled in English or Dhivehi prior to the trading of the item in any inhabited island of Maldives,” the statement said.

“If any food items are not labelled according to these requirements after 1 June 2011, the owner of the business will be fined up to the amount of Rf100,000.”

The Trade Ministry was unable to comment further on the decision at the time of going to press.

Correction: An earlier headline for this story stated that labels would be required to be dual language. This has been clarified as English or Dhivehi.