Labelling requirements in Russia (supplements, sport nutrition and water)

Pepeliaev Group advises that the list of goods that must be labelled with means of identification might be enlarged. 
At the initiative of the Federal Service for Supervision over Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare (known as Rospotrebnadzor), the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade is considering the proposal to introduce labelling for biologically active food supplements (BAFS), sport nutrition and water.

Concerning the labelling of water, a draft of the Russian Government’s Resolution “On conducting an experiment for labelling mineral and drinking water with means of identification in Russia” was published on the Federal Portal of Draft Regulations on 27 August 2019[1]. The draft resolution proposes that an experiment be conducted, within the period from 1 October 2019 until 30 September 2020, relating to the labelling of commodity position 2201 of the Commodity Classification for Foreign Trade of the Eurasian Economic Union (abbreviated in Russian as TN VED EAEU): water, including natural or artificial mineral water, sparkling water, without sugar or other sweetening or flavouring agents; ice and snow.

Currently the list of goods that must be labelled[2] includes 11 groups of goods (with a number of exceptions and a different deadline for introduction):

  • Tobacco products;
  • Shoe products;
  • Perfume and eau de toilette;
  • Tyres and covers;
  • Clothes made of leather, knitted shirts, and outwear;
  • Bed linen, table linen, toilet linen and kitchen linen;
  • Photo cameras and flash lights; and
  • Dairy products.
It is worth being reminded that, at the end of 2017, Federal Law No. 381-FZ “On the basic principles concerning state regulation of trade activity in the Russian Federation” dated 28 December 2009 was supplemented with the following provisions[3]:
  • The Russian Government may establish an obligation for business entities to label separate goods with means of identification;
  • The purposes of establishing such an obligation may be: the protection of the life and health of human beings; the protection of morality and public policy; the protection of environment, animals and plants, and cultural values; the performance of international obligations of the Russian Federation; and ensuring national defence and state security;
  • Irrespective of the above purposes the obligation to label goods may be established by an international treaty of the Russian Federation;
  • Under the general rule, it is not allowed in Russia to sell, exchange or otherwise put goods into circulation in violation of a requirement for mandatory labelling;
  • Business entities’ failure to perform the labelling obligation entails the imposition of liability.
In accordance with the Agreement on the labelling of goods with means of identification in the EAEU[4], which Russia has ratified, the global purpose behind introducing the labelling of goods with means of identification is ensuring the legal circulation of goods within the EAEU, protecting consumers' rights and preventing misleading actions.

Subsequently, new concepts were introduced into this federal law at the end of 2018.
In particular, labelling means putting special means of identification on a product – labelling codes. What form do such codes have? The following is provided in the law as an example:
  • a bar code, which can be defined as a sequence of black and white stripes (or other geometrical figures). a QR-code is a type of a bar code;
  • a RFID code - for example, radio frequency identification tags in a plastic case are often placed on clothes. Before the sale the cashier removes the tag;
  • a code presented with the help of another automated identification technology. An example of such other technologies is a card with a magnetic stripe. The magnetic stripe can be seen on bank payment cards, discount/gift cards, and key-cards to hotel rooms. Often bank payment cards together with a magnetic stripe have a built-in chip-card (microchip), which is one more example of an automated identification technology.
A unique number of each item of goods, an identification code, is written down in the labelling code. Labelled goods will be tracked because information about the circulation of all such goods will be entered into the special state information system for monitoring the circulation of goods. Information will be supplied to such systems by business entities (legal entities and individual entrepreneurs) which carry out:
  • trade activity connected with the sale and purchase of such goods;
  • the supply of such goods (including manufacturers of goods).
These business entities are also obliged to label the goods.

A part of the information about the product that is contained in the monitoring system will be publicly available, for example, the information about the product’s name, place of manufacture, manufacturer, current owner, and for tobacco products also the maximum retail price, etc. Access to such information will also be provided to consumers (for example, they can access the information by scanning the labelling code using a free mobile application).

What to think about and what to do

The possible inclusion of BAFS, sport nutrition and water in the list of goods that must be labelled will require, from those involved in their circulation, strict compliance with the labelling provisions and other regulations for labelling goods in Russia.

Companies will need to take into account the costs of introducing labelling and other new costs for the business, and to be attentive in compliance with all the technical requirements.
The exchange of information within the monitoring system (in particular between the operator of the monitoring system and those involved in the circulation of goods) will be carried out in the form of electronic documents, which presupposes that companies will shift to electronic document flow.

Help from your adviser

Pepeliaev Group’s cross-sectoral Digital Economy Support Group comprises experts in the legal regulation of IT, IP and personal data use. The Group will be happy to provide the full range of legal services concerning any aspects of how information technologies might be applied.

Our experts are members of working groups involving business representatives and sectoral agencies which develop proposals for how the regulatory and legal framework can be improved taking account of the technological changes that are occurring.

[1] https://regulation.gov.ru/projects#npa=94344
[2] Order No. 792-r of the Russian Government “On approving the list of separate goods that must be labelled with means of identification” dated 28 April 2018
[3] Article 8(4)(7) - Article 8(4)(10) of Federal Law No. 381-FZ “On the basic principles concerning state regulation of trade activity in the Russian Federation” dated 28 December 2009
[4] “Agreement on labelling of goods with means of identification in the Eurasian Economic Union” (entered into in Almaty on 2 February 2018 and ratified by Federal Law No. 281-FZ dated 3 August 2018)

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