The business met with the Head of the State Service of Ukraine for Food Safety and Consumer Protection
Yesterday, there was the first meeting of the EBA business community with Vladislava Magaletskaya, Head of the State Service of Ukraine for Food Safety and Consumer Protection. The newly appointed Head shared her plans and priorities for the modernization of the food and non-food security system and addressed business issues that have accumulated during times the Service had operated without a leader.
Thus, at the beginning of the meeting, it was noted that the reform of the State Food and Consumer Service will be based on three principles that apply to business, society, and the state. First, it is protection against dishonest practices such as corruption, falsification, and so on. Second, the service provided by the agency should be equally accessible, and understandable to all participants. Together, these two principles determine the degree of trust in the State Food and Consumer Service. According to the Head, the business currently has a certain limit of trust in the work of the department, but at the same time, it is necessary to strive for even closer and trusting relations. Therefore, Ms. Magaletskaya set a goal to move in the direction of eight priorities, the importance of which was emphasized by business representatives after her appointment.
Some issues on this list can be solved with the introduction of digital technologies, namely the violation of the deadlines for issuing conclusions of the sanitary and epidemiological examination, as well as the lack of a convenient system of circulation of certificates and submission of documents. To understand the situation, the following numbers were given: about 31,000 administrative services are processed annually by the State Food and Consumer Services – and 90% of all these operations are carried out in the paper form. Therefore, the Service is waiting for approval of the candidacy of the Deputy Head for Digital Affairs, who will take care of the implementation of electronic registers, digitalization of procedures for obtaining permits, the connection of the Service database to the Diia platform “Action” and relevant international certificate systems. All this is planned to be realized in 2021. It is expected that the electronic format will help the agency to respond more effectively to requests from organizations, companies, and citizens.
Regarding registries, the issue of recognizing the equivalence of EU requirements for the registration of feed additives in Ukrainian legislation is relevant. For the full launch of the State Register of Feed Additives, the draft law № 3672 was approved, which will give time for the adoption of bylaws prepared by the State Food and Consumer Service. This will allow Ukrainian feed manufacturers and importers to register feed additives under European legislation.
At the same time, at the beginning of this year, the Government launched the market for private phytosanitary laboratories, but such structures have not yet received permission to conduct phytosanitary examinations and issue appropriate certificates for businesses. These powers will be given to them by the State Food and Consumer Service after approval of the order of the Ministry of Economy and the introduction of an automated information system for the needs of phytosanitary laboratories and food safety in Ukraine.
Also, from April 12, 2021, new veterinary certificates will be valid for export from Ukraine to the post-Soviet countries in connection with the withdrawal of the Ukrainian side from the CIS agreements. Currently, updated forms of certificates with an exact list of products have been agreed upon with Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Tajikistan. The State Food and Consumer Service are also working on this issue with representatives of Belarus.
Given the current situation with COVID-19, there are currently no opportunities for Ukrainian inspectors to be sent to foreign plants to issue licenses. At the same time, remote inspection is also not provided by law. Therefore, companies are invited to provide the State Food and Consumer Service with their list of potential countries and products, for the import of which they need the conclusions of inspectors, to solve cases individually.
Businesses were also interested in the introduction of mandatory vaccination of poultry against salmonellosis under EU standards. The official position of the State Food and Consumer Service is that vaccination against salmonellosis does not guarantee the safety of poultry, and will complicate the control of salmonellosis in the herd, which, in turn, will increase the risk of salmonella infection in poultry products and, consequently, increase human health and product exports risks. Concerning Ku-fever of cattle, it was stated that the State Food and Consumer Service is ready to join the monitoring studies of Ku-fever throughout Ukraine with the financial support of the business.
In the context of consumer protection, representatives of the State Food and Consumer Service, Mineconomy, and Ministry of Digital Transformation are developing draft amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On E-Commerce”, which will force marketplaces to identify individuals and legal entities trading on the Internet and determine mechanisms for prosecuting those marketplaces that do not provide such information. Despite the postponement of the mandatory introduction of RSO (registrar of settlement operations), businesses are still hoping for the possibility of creating civilized rules for e-commerce in Ukraine.
Besides, we also discussed the procedures for export and import of samples of animal products, the draft sectoral plan of state market surveillance for 2021, problems with unapproved forms of international certificates, and so on. For its part, the State Food and Consumer Service asked EBA member companies for their feedback on the Law of Ukraine № 2639-VIII “On Consumer Information on Food Products” to identify critical issues for doing business and improve the food safety control system in Ukraine.
On behalf of the European Business Association, we thank Ms. Magaletskaya for her attention to community issues and for clarifying pressing business issues.