On 22 July 2014 the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine passed the Law of Ukraine “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine Regarding Food Products”, which was registered under No 4179a of 27 June 2014. The text of the Law was prepared by the working group consisting of representatives from European Business Association and leading experts in food sphere.
Background: During several years the reform of the food safety and quality system was remaining the key issue for the Association. Development of new legislation in this field that meets European standards and norms was considered one of the most important tasks necessary for an effective food safety system establishment and possibility to export products to European market for Ukrainian producers.
The current food products safety system is far from being perfect, inefficient and does not meet modern trends. Overlapping of state bodies’ functions and responsibilities, an extremely high level of corruption costs and administrative barriers costs, an inability to ensure traceability and some extra licensing procedures that do not exist in the European Union (hereinafter – EU), etc. are the main negative sides of the acting food safety mechanism.
Development of the draft law that would be in line with the European principles of food safety and quality took quite a long time and was accompanied by a large number of meetings, both with the relevant authorities (for instance, the State Veterinary and Phytosanitary Service of Ukraine, the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine (hereinafter – MinAgro), the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, and the representatives from the Parliament) and numerous experts, businesses and associations. At the outset of 2014 the working group was set up under the MinAgro. It united all interested business stakeholders, International Financial Corporation, EU funded Project “Improvement of Food Safety Control System in Ukraine” and state bodies in order to ameliorate the draft law and adjust it with the European requirements. Finally, as a result of intensive and coordinated work the bill was registered in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on June 27, 2014.
The newly adopted law is expected to provide a high level of human health protection and consumers’ interests, establish transparent conditions for doing business, reduce corruption component, and aims at increasing the competitiveness of domestic food products and reducing their prices. One of the key benefits of the law is the implementation of the European model of food safety and quality system that is built on the “from farm to fork” principle and procedures of the HACCP system. Accordingly, it creates the conditions for the effective and efficient human health protection. Moreover, the bill clarifies terminology, types of offenses and the adequacy of punishment. Also, it foresees the creation of a single supervisory authority in the area of food safety, cancellation of permits and procedures that are not into conformity with the EU practice, introduction of European principles for the regulation of GMOs (in particular, as regards registration of a GMO, not products made from it). The law enforcement is supposed to launch a mechanism of food market self-regulation and will have a significant economic impact.
According to an analysis prepared by the EU SWAP-RURAL project, reforming the food safety system will reduce annual government expenditure on maintenance of food safety control bodies to 314 million (in comparison, today it consumes 744 millions), reduce total expenditure on enforcement of requirements by enterprises (currently they range from 2.6% to 4.9% of the annual turnover of enterprises); ensure the development of production and increase the level of innovation in the food industry; fully benefit from quotas on exports to the EU.
It should be emphasized that the Law of Ukraine “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine Regarding Food Products” will come into force in one year from the moment of its promulgation. However, some provisions devoted to HACCP system establishment will be obligatory in three years’ time.
The association expresses its gratitude to all participants of the working group, the representatives from the state authorities, namely, members of Parliament, who put a lot of efforts for the law being adopted, and our company members for their active position and help.