On 6 December 2018 the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the Law “On Consumer Information Regarding Food Products” (hereinafter referred to as “the Law”), coming into force 6 months from the date of its official publication. The Law is submitted to the President for signing.
The mentioned Law is adopted in pursuance of Ukraine’s obligations under the Association Agreement with the EU. The Law is aimed to ensure an adequate level of health and consumers’ interests protection and their awareness, to establish means of ensuring consumers’ rights to information and procedures for providing information on food products.
The Law, in particular, governs the requirements for information to be indicated on food labels and defines which information is to be mandatory and which – voluntarily. These requirements are not applicable to the personal consumption food, auxiliary materials for production and food contact materials.
The information on the packaged food product label is to be indicated in Ukrainian and will contain the following:
– the food product name;
– the list of ingredients;
– the ingredients or auxiliary materials used in the manufacture or preparation of a food product and remaining present in the finished product, even in modified form;
– the number of certain ingredients or their categories;
– the amount of food product in the specified units;
– the minimum shelf life, storage, and use conditions;
– the name and location of the food market operator responsible for the information on the food product, and the name and location of the importer for imported goods;
– the country or place of origin;
– the instructions for use if its absence makes it difficult to use the food product properly;
– the information on the nutritional value of a food product.
After the Law is published, the market operators are prohibited to handle food products produced by facilities not registered by or lacking operating permit from the State Consumer Service and / or use such food products for the production of other food products.
The Law also defines that the food products in line with the requirements of the legislation covering the matters of the information about food products being effective before the new Law entered into force but not in line with the requirements of the new Law may be produced and / or put into circulation within three years after the Law becomes effective. Such food products may be in circulation within the end date of consumption or expire date.
In accordance with the new Law, the State Consumer Protection Service is defined as the supervising body to control the market operators for food information requirements.
The responsibility of food market operators for violations is set in the form of fines ranging from 5 to 40 minimum wages, in particular for:
– violations of the requirements on providing information to consumers about food products, providing inaccurate and incomprehensible information to consumers about food products;
– violation of production hygienic requirements and / or circulation of food products requirements;
– failure to reclaim or to remove hazardous food from circulation;
– failure to inform the consumers about the substances and food products, triggering allergic reactions or intolerances;
– offer for sale or sale of unsuitable food products;
– offer for sale or sale of food products harmful to human health or animal;
– failure to comply with the decision of the competent authority to destroy dangerous food products, auxiliary materials for production thereof;
– refusal to admit an official of the State Consumer Protection Service to carry out state control, non-compliance with legal requirements.
According to the Law authors, its implementation can allow:
– to create a productive mechanism for informing consumers about food products or ingredients, their composition, nutritional values, a method of consumption, etc.;
– to reduce the burden on market operators by restructuring the legislative requirements on food products information within a single law, being harmonized with the legislation of the European Union.