European-standard food products: how will it work in Ukraine

From the beginning of April, the control of products of animal origin for Ukrainian tables will start according to European standards. On April 4, the Law “About state control over compliance with legislation on food products, forages, animal by-products, animal health and welfare” will come into force.

What does it mean for the Ukrainian consumer and market participants – that is what the site “24” cleared up.

For consumers

Mrs. Ivanna Klimpush-Tsintsadze, the Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine, assured that the new Law will create conditions for ensuring the best quality and safety of food products for consumers.

If, in simple words, the producers of animal products will be controlled according to clear, transparent rules. And if the manufacturer has passed such a check – it is a guarantee to the consumer that the provided products – safe.

For market participants

Enterprises will now be screened depending on the degree of risk to life and health of people. For example, as it is stressed in the government, in a store where the products of long-term storage are sold, the risks are less than in a store where fresh meat is sold.

Deputy Head of the EU project “Improvement of food safety control system in Ukraine” Yana Dobidovska explained on air of Public Radio broadcast that they will check up all operators, manufacturers, transporters, distributors, regardless of the tax system. Moreover, the law designates as market operators even those who are not registered as individual entrepreneur, but carries out relevant activities in the food market: for example, private sellers in dairy and meat markets.

Each of them will be evaluated individually, under about 8 parameters. And the number of inspections will depend on the risk that he represents. A plan of inspections will be drawn up and each operator will know how many times a year he will be checked up.

“The manufacturer will know that, for example, he is referred to an average risk level and will be checked 4 times a year. Verification itself is performed without warning. Because then the inspector of the controlling body has an objective view of the state of affairs at the enterprise, and not the state that would be prepared for the arrival of the inspector,” Dobidovska explained.

Another important innovation for manufacturers – according to the new Law, inspectors of the State Committee for Proprietary Services will carry out inspections in accordance with the Verification Act.

The list of questions of this Act is unified and exclusive, and it is openly accessible. Each issue contains a reference to the relevant requirement of the Law. Therefore, producers will be able to prepare themselves for compliance with all the necessary regulations, and therefore – and not be afraid of any inspections.

According to Dobidovska, a moratorium on inspections that existed in the last two years, when inspections were carried out solely on the basis of a consumer complaint, when an incident occurred (someone was poisoned, etc.) revealed that in the Ukrainian market there are both conscientious operators and those who prefer not to observe absolutely all safety standards of the product. Consequently, the products of bona fide producers and service providers cannot compete with dishonest ones, since the latter will set the lower price due to “cheapening” due to refusal to comply with any necessary procedures. Therefore, the new Law is a guarantee of fair competition.

An expert on the “Agriculture sector” of BRDO, Manuel Airapetov, in his comment on the “24” site noted that the Law, in particular, returns tools for quality control at the state border line of the products imported into the territory of Ukraine.

There are determined requirements for the instrumentation of border inspection stations to provide direct control, sampling and examination of products by qualified personnel. “Now such control is formally carried out by the employees of the Customs service, which in an elementary way have no technical ability for this,” the expert explained.

The Law also forces into application new regulatory instruments – a general document on import and a general veterinary document on import, which will confirm passing the state control by market operator.

Punishment for “disobedient”

Sanctions are foreseen for violation of the new Law. They are different for legal entities and natural persons-entrepreneurs, and also depend on the “severity” of violations. For understanding – the amount of fine for legal entities can reach 70 thousand hryvnias. And if the inspector reveals at production the factors that are dangerous to people’s lives and health, he may take a decision to temporarily stop the production and/or circulation of food and/or feed.

However, Yana Dobidovska noted: if the offense was committed for the first time in the last three years or it was insignificant (this list is also registered), the market operator will not be fined, but shall remove the revealed discrepancies within a clearly defined time frame.

To make the Law work efficiently

Mr. Manuel Airapetov emphasized – now it is necessary to concentrate efforts on solving a number of significant issues that compromise the effective implementation of the document. Firstly, to provide financial mechanism for the instrumentation of border inspection stations, proper logistics supply of inspectors, etc. Secondly, work out the necessary regulatory framework for the implementation of the Law. Thirdly, to foresee the harmonization of sectorial legislation in accordance with the EU Regulation 2017/625, this also determines the powers of phytosanitation control.

Posted by Yanina Tkachuk

The original article is published by 24 Channel