Ukraine: New requirements for food labelling

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published on 2 December 2019 | Reading time approx. 3 Minuten

 

Since 6 August 2019, new food labelling requirements provided in the Law of Ukraine “On Provision of Food Information to Consumers” No 2639-VIII of 6 December 2018 (hereinafter – the “Food Information Law”) started to apply. The new food labelling requirements have been introduced to implement the Association Agree­ment between the European Union and Ukraine in order to approximate Ukrainian food information legislation to European standards of provision of food information to consumers, in particular, to EU Regulation No. 1169/2011 of 25 October 2011.

 


The Food Information Law applies to foodstuffs intended for the final consumer, including products supplied to mass caterers, and the personal scope of application extends to importers of foodstuffs and business entities under whose name or business name the food is marketed.


The requirements of the Food Information Law apply not only to labelling, but also to information about a food product that is provided consumers through advertising, and to the presentation of foods, in particular their shape, appearance or packaging, the packaging materials used, the way in which they are arranged and the setting in which they are displayed.


The Food Information Law defines labelling as any words, particulars, trademarks, brand name, pic­torial matter or symbol relating to a food and placed on any packaging, document, notice, label, ring or collar accompanying or referring to such food. The Food Information Law provides for the following principal requirements to the provision of mandatory information on food products:

 

  • the information should be provided in the state (i.e. in Ukrainian) language; the market operator is free to provide translation into other language;
  • the information should be marked in a conspicuous place and should be easily visible and clearly legible;
  • the information should not be hidden, obscured, detracted from or interrupted by any other written or pictorial matter or any other intervening material;
  • the font should be clear, legible and contrast, with the x-height equal to or greater than 1,2 mm.

 

According to the Food Information Law, the following information about a food product is mandatory:

  1. the name of the food;
  2. the list of ingredients;
  3. any ingredient or processing aid listed in Annex No. 1 to the Food Information Law or derived from a sub­stance or product listed in Annex No. 1 Food Information Law used in the manufacture or preparation of a food and still present in the finished product, even if in an altered form;
  4. the quantity of certain ingredients or categories of ingredients; 
  5. the net quantity of the food;
  6. the date of minimum durability or the “use by” date;
  7. any special storage conditions and/or conditions of use (if needed);
  8. the name or business name and address of the food business operator, responsible for food infor­mation, and with respect to imported food products – name and address of the importer;
  9. the country of origin or place of provenance where in cases provided for by the Law;
  10. instructions for use where it would be difficult to make appropriate use of the food in the absence of such instructions;
  11. with respect to beverages containing more than 1,2 per cent by volume of alcohol, the actual alcoholic strength by volume;
  12. a nutrition declaration.

The Food Information Law provides for special regulations and exceptions to the scope of mandatory in­for­mation on certain food products, depending on their compo­sition, prepackaging and type of packaging. The Food Information Law does not restrict provision of additional information about the food product. Such additional information, however, shall not mislead or confuse the consumer and, where appropriate, shall be based on relevant scientific data.


A special attention should be paid to the requirements regarding the allergens. The information on allergen ingredients, which are present in a food product should be marked in a color or font visually different from other ingredients. These requirements also apply to products offered for sale to final consumers and to mass caterers without prepackaging, or where foods are packed on the sales premises at the consumer’s request or prepacked for direct sale. The list of substances and products that cause allergic reactions or intolerances is provided in Annex No. 1 to the Food Information Law.


The rules for indication of the expiration date have also changed. The Food Information Law introduces the concept of “minimum durability date” and the “use by” date. The reason behind this distinction is that signi­ficant food volumes are thrown away, although they could be consumed within a certain period of time after the “minimum durability date” without any harm to consumers’ health.


The new approach to indicating the expiration date is intended to identify highly perishable products for which the “use by” date should be indicated, after which the product is deemed to be unsafe (for example, raw or chilled meat, raw fish, eggs).


For the food products that remain safe for some time after the “minimum durability date” (for example, sugar, coffee), the expiration date is indicated by the phrase: “best before ...”, “best before end …”. It is important to note, however, that a food product cannot be sold after both the “minimum durability date” and after the “use by” date.


According to the transitional provisions of the Food Information Law, the food products which meet the re­quire­ments of the legislation on provision of food information to consumers in force before the enactment of the Food Information Law may be produced and/or placed on the market within three years after the Food In­formation Law starts to apply. Such food products may be marketed until the final use date or the expiry date. Thus, until 5 August 2022, the business entities may market food products both according to the old and new requirements.

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