Amendments to the food product turnover and labelling legislation

06.02.2015

Legal update No 498

Goltsblat BLP advises that amendments have been made to the food product turnover and labelling legislation. In particular, stricter liability has been introduced for turnover of infringing goods and goods with incorrect labelling; the legislation also permits extraordinary checks to be performed without advance notification of food manufacturers.

Production and circulation of ethyl alcohol, alcoholic and alcohol-containing products

On 1 January 2015, nearly all provisions of Federal Law No. 490-FZ of 31 December 2014 “On Amending the Federal Law “On state regulation of production and circulation of ethyl alcohol, alcoholic and alcohol-containing products and restriction of consumption (drinking) of alcoholic beverages” came into effect.

The changes are, in many aspects, of a conceptual nature:

  1. The criterion establishing the content of ethyl alcohol in food products for classifying them as alcohol-containing has been reduced from 1.5% to 0.5%;
  2. The criterion establishing the content of ethyl alcohol, other alcohol-containing products or alcohol-containing waste of ethyl alcohol production in non-food products (including perfumery and cosmetics) for classifying them as alcohol-containing has been reduced from 1.5% to 0.5%;
  3. The conceptual framework has been supplemented by, among other things, such concepts as “winery products with protected appellation of origin”, “vineyard” and “register of grape plantings”;
  4. Production and sale by agricultural producers (i.e., organisations, individual entrepreneurs, peasant (farmer) households) of winery products recognised as such under Federal Law No. 264-FZ of 29 December 2006 “On Agricultural Development”) will now be subject to regulation;
  5. Separate subdivisions of companies using their core process equipment may now perform a complete distillate production cycle.

Toughening up on turnover of infringing products, smuggling of alcohol and tobacco products and misleading of consumers

Federal Law No. 530-FZ dated 31 December 2014 "On Amending Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation with Respect to Stepping Up Efforts to Counter Turnover of Infringing Products and Smuggling of Alcohol and Tobacco Products" came into effect on 11 January 2015.

  1. Amendments were made to Article 171.1 of the Criminal Code, which previously stipulated criminal liability for lack of excise and special stamps. The new version covers production, storage, transport and sale of products without the labelling prescribed by the Russian legislation.
  2. Consequently, there is a risk of criminal liability being triggered by lack of any labelling information envisaged by relevant legislative acts.

  3. Article 14.7 of the Code of Administrative Offences has been amended to include Part 2 stipulating penalties (RUB 100,000 to 500,000 for legal entities) for misleading consumers as to the consumer properties or quality of goods during their manufacture for sale or sale thereof.

Extraordinary control (supervision) inspections without notification of food manufacturers and sellers

Federal Law № 532-FZ has been signed on 31 December 2014, legalising the extraordinary control (supervision) inspections, without notification of food manufacturers and sellers.

Initially the changes were intended to provide the safety of biologically active supplements that are being sold in Russia, along with drugs and medical devices.

However given the fact that biologically active supplements fall under the category of food products, the new requirements shall affect manufacturers and sellers of all types of food products which will no longer be notified about a forthcoming inspection.

The Amendments to the Federal Law No. 29-FZ of 2 January 2000 “On the quality of food products” are aimed at specifying that biologically active supplements may be falsified and stipulating the absence of necessity to notify business about the inspections:

  • the current definition of “falsified food products” is amended by including biologically active supplements;
  • notification about the commencement of an inspection is cancelled. Plants may be subject to inspections along with sales points and public dining facilities;

The Federal Law No. 294-FZ of 26 December 2008 “On the protection of legal entities’ and individual entrepreneurs’ rights during state control (supervision) and municipal control” is amended accordingly.

Thus, for the purposes of state control in the sphere of safety and quality of food products the specifics of arranging and holding inspections, as regards the kind, object and grounds for holding inspections, time and periodicity of holding them, notices of holding extraordinary visiting inspections and coordination of extraordinary visiting inspections with bodies of the prosecutor's office may be established by other federal laws when exercising the following kinds of the state control (supervision).

The amendments will come into force on 23 January 2015

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