New Food Labeling Law Enters into Force in Ukraine
The Ukrainian law on the provision of food information to consumers, adopted by the Ukrainian Parliament on December 6, 2018, entered into force on August 6, 2019. The requirements related to food information and labeling were previously regulated by the law on consumer rights protection.
The new law was adopted to fulfill Ukraine’s obligations under the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. Its main purpose is to ensure that consumers are properly informed about food products in the Ukrainian market.
What Is New?
According to the law, each food product intended for the end consumer must contain accurate and easily comprehensible information which must not mislead the consumers regarding the product’s characteristics, properties and composition. This requirement applies both to the advertising of food products and to the manner they are presented for sale, including their form, appearance, and packaging.
Information that must be shown includes the following:
- Food product name;
- List and quantity of ingredients;
- Substances associated with food allergies or food intolerance;
- Expiration date;
- Name and address of the manufacturer or seller;
- Country or place of origin;
- Beverage alcohol content;
- Nutritional value;
- Other information, e.g. about freezing or defrosting, the presence of GMOs, added water, specific refined vegetable oils and fats, engineered nanomaterials, and substitute ingredients.
Moreover, the law sets out how such information must be shown, namely:
- It must be printed in the Ukrainian language; translation to another language is optional;
- Trademarks may be printed as they are registered in Ukraine, i.e. they do not need to be translated into Ukrainian;
- Information must be easily accessible to consumers;
- Information about pre-packed products must be printed on the packaging and/or on a sticker label;
- Information must not be hidden or distorted by other text or graphic elements;
- There are specific requirements regarding the minimum font size, background color, the indication of measurement units, allergens, etc.;
- Information about food products must be indicated in words and numbers; the use of pictograms and symbols is optional.
Wider Scope of the Law
The law applies to all food products intended for the end consumer, including those sold at public catering establishments such as cafés and restaurants. The requirements also apply to products sold online, in which case the required information must be provided before the product is purchased.
State Control Agency and Legal Liability
The State Service for Food Safety and Consumer Protection is responsible for ensuring compliance with the requirements. In case of a breach, the law prescribes fines of up to EUR 4,400 (USD 4,880).
The law provides for a transition period of three years and does not require immediate relabeling of all food products. Products that comply with previous legal requirements can be produced and/or put into circulation during the transition period, and are allowed to be in circulation until their expiration date.
Prepared by: Igor Alfiorov
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Sources: Ukrainian Government Portal, blogactiv.eu, agropolit.com, State Service of Ukraine on Food Safety and Consumer Protection, opinionua.com, Ukrainian Parliament websites
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