The Ukrainian parliament has recently adopted the law on information about food products for consumers, which brings Ukrainian legislation in line with EU regulations, such as Regulation No. 1169/2011 (25 October 2011) on the provision of food information to consumers and Directive 2011/91/EU (13 December 2011) on indications or marks identifying the lot to which a foodstuff belongs.
Another step towards Ukraine’s fulfilment of its obligations under the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU, the law's main purpose is to ensure a high level of transparency, and provide consumers with better access to clear, comprehensive and reliable information about food products on the Ukrainian market.
The law applies to food business operators, such as importers and producers, responsible for product labelling, and includes the following provisions:
- Legibility of information: the law introduces certain technical requirements to the presentation of food information, including minimum font size for mandatory information; contrasting background colour; rules for indication of measurement units, etc.
- Mandatory information: the law sets the rules for the labelling of mandatory food information, including, among others:
- Information on allergens must be indicated in the list of ingredients and emphasised (e.g. by font, style or background colour).
- Information on engineered nanomaterials must be indicated in the list of ingredients and followed by the word ‘nano’ in brackets.
- Information on specific vegetable origin of refined oils and fats must be indicated in the list of ingredients, and if a product is fully or partially hydrogenated, this also must be indicated.
- 'Imitation' foods: the ingredients consumers would expect to be present in food but have been substituted must be clearly indicated.
- Other information about freezing or defrosting of food products; indication of country of origin; shelf life of a food product; content of genetically modified organisms; markings identifying the lot to which foodstuff belongs (i.e. market operators must determine the lot and affix this information to the product), etc.
- Distance selling: the same rules apply to food products sold online.
- Importing of food samples: no formal approval from the competent authority is necessary for importing food samples (e.g. for exhibitions or scientific research). In this case, it is sufficient to merely notify the competent authority, which will issue any objections within ten days of notification. The competent authority can only voice objections if the samples are deemed a threat to the lives or health of humans or animals.
- Transportation requirements: market operators must ensure proper tracking records of all means of transport used for a particular food product, and the secure sealing of all food containers.
- Strengthened liability: the law also strengthens liability for improper labelling of food products by increasing fines up to 20 minimum wages (UAH 74,460 or approximately EUR 2,350) for private entrepreneurs, and up to 30 minimum wages (UAH 111,690 or approximately EUR 3,500) for legal entities.
The law is still to be signed by the Ukrainian President, and will become effective six months after its official promulgation, which is expected to take place in the second half of 2019. For more information on this law and how it might affect your business, please contact authors of this publication.