ne can Complain that the label did not contain “best before date” and hence the food item was misbranded, as it contravened R.32(i) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules. Since the item involved in this case was having a short shelf life of less than three months, it was necessary to mention only the date of manufacture on the label. Therefore, the only violation alleged by the Public Analyst was that instead of showing “best before date” on the label, the food item in this case had the label “assurance 30 days”.
I may now consider as to whether by writing the words ‘assurance 30 days’ instead of ‘best before date’, it would contravene R.32(i) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, 1955. By using the words “best before date”, the meaning intended to be conveyed is that the consumer must use it before that date. I may now examine whether the public would be misguided by writing the words “assurance 30 days” instead of writing ‘best before date’ on the label. For that purpose, it is necessary to understand the meaning of the word “assurance”. In P. Ramanatha Aiyar’s Advanced Law Lexicon, fourth edition, the word ‘assurance’ in contract means “making secure” or “insure”. In Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English, Ninth Edition, the synonym of the word ‘assurance’ is ‘guarantee’. Therefore, even though the terminology found in ‘assurance 30 days’ and ‘best before date’, differs in appearance, actually, no consumer would definitely be misguided, if he happens to see the words ‘assurance 30 days’. In the said circumstances, even if the words ‘best before date’ are not there and instead, the words assurance 30 days’ are there, it will not, in any way mislead the consumer, and hence by no stretch of imagination, it can be said that the product had been misbranded, particularly when the product was not adulterated.