POST RELEASE: How dairy monopolists tend to continue misleading consumers. What is behind eco-, bio- and organic products from Ukrainian dairy producers?

Press conference, 26 December 2014, 10.00-11.00

Ukrinform, 8/16 B.Khmelnytskogo St (Teatralna Underground Station)

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On 26 December 2014 the press conference "Dairy monopolists tend to continue misleading consumers. What is behind eco-, bio- and organic products from Ukrainian dairy producers" initiated by Public Union of Certified Organic Producers "Organic Ukraine" was held in Ukrinform Information Agency.

15 representatives of mass media and 17 stakeholders representing specialized institutes, consumer protection unions, NGOs and other interested people attended the press conference.

The press conference was aimed at discussing the non-conformities in the effective legislation of Ukraine with regard to use of the prefix bio- in labelling of fermented milk products in conventional production. In the process of discussion the participants of the conference were able to express their opinions regarding the situation which might create obstacles to organic market development in Ukraine. Namely, on 16 January 2014 the draft law "On amendments to Part ХІ Final Provisions" of Law of Ukraine "On organic production and trade of organic products and raw materials" was proposed to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (Parliament of Ukraine); according to the mentioned draft law the following sentence can be added "Until 1 January 2020 the provision of Clause 7, Article 29 of this Law shall not apply to dairy products made using probiotic (live organisms that provide health benefits when consumed)", http://w1.c1.rada.gov.ua/pls/zweb2/webproc4_1?pf3511=52963. 

The participants of the conference and organic market operators agree that this draft law:

  •  Allows using the prefix "bio" for labeling conventional products which will mislead Ukrainian consumers regarding properties of products they buy,
  • Creates artificial obstacles to export as it discredits Ukrainian organic products at the European markets,
  • Damages the image of domestic organic producers certified under EU organic standard by internationally accredited certification bodies which comply with IFOAM criteria and recognized by the latter. http://www.ifoam.org/en/ifoam-family-standards
  • Creates a harmful situation for consumers, negatively influences the level of consumers' confidence and damages the international reputation of Ukraine and its compliance with obligations within the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement.

This draft law contravenes the effective legislation of Ukraine and EU, namely:

  • Law of Ukraine "On consumers’ rights protection": Clause 1 of Article 15, Clause 3 of Article 15, Sub-clause 1, Clause 7 of Article 15, Sub-clause 1, Clause 2 of Article 19;
  • Law of Ukraine "On organic production and trade of organic products and raw materials" Articles 36 and 37;
  • Regulation EC No 834/2007 and implementation of its provisions in Ukrainian legislation which is envisaged in Annex 38, Chapter 17, Title 5 of Ukraine-EU Association Agreement. http://www.organicstandard.com.ua/en/services/standards 

On the other hand, pursuant to Part 7, Article 29 of the effective Law of Ukraine No 425-VII "On organic production and trade of organic products and raw materials" (hereinafter referred to as the Law) as of 03.09.2013 it is not allowed to label products which do not comply with this Law as "organic", "biodynamic", "ecological", word or prefix "bio" etc. Thus, according to the mentioned Law dairy producers are not allowed to use the words with the prefix "bio" if such products do not comply with the requirements of the mentioned Law. http://zakon4.rada.gov.ua/laws/show/425-18/page2 

The Ukrainian legislation implementation and harmonization of legislative acts with EU legislation are underway. The extension of implementation of the effective Law No 425-VII "On organic production and trade of organic products and raw materials", Article 29 and continued use of names "biokefir", "bio yoghurt" according to the National Standard of Ukraine DSTU 2212:2003 "Production of milk and fermented products. Definitions" by dairy producers are unacceptable. Obviously, such facts contravene the Ukrainian legislation and the defined plan of European integration of Ukraine.

Based on the experience of organic production implementation, international brands of dairy production in European countries changed the labelling of their products in compliance with EU Regulation on organic production. They began to identify and label the origin of bacterial cultures used in fermented products.

Ukraine needs the effective control system in this area in order to provide consumers with legal, accurate and reliable information. Use of some forms and methods in advertising may harm consumers. Legal, "transparent" businesses are not interested in absence of control, as they suffer from unfair market players. Consumer Rights Inspection in Kyiv city is ready to work towards improvement of legislation in organic sector in order to protect consumers’ rights and prevent unfair advertising and illegal labelling.

The Public Union of Certified Organic Producers "Organic Ukraine", NGOs, consumers’ associations, and Ukrainian organic operators have the following proposals for legislative and executive authorities:

  • only certified organic producers shall have the right to label products "organic product” (as well as "bio", "eco" and "organic").
  • to make remarks to the draft law “On amendments to Part ХІ "Final Provisions" of Law of Ukraine "On organic production and trade of organic products and raw materials" about extension of prohibition to label products with the prefix "bio" to 1 January 2016. This period is sufficient to give agricultural and processing enterprises time to change marketing information, packaging and adapting their consumers.

The following people participated in the press conference:

  1. Oleg Zhukovskyi, Chairman of the Steering Committee of Ethnoproduct PRSC, the initiator and owner of organic dairy processing enterprise under Ethnoproduct TM, Chernigiv region.
  2. Olena Stretovych, the Director of Organic Dairy Plant “Organic Milk”, Zhytomyr region.
  3. Tetyana Yablonska, the initiator and owner of Lybid-K Company which produces certified organic goat milk products under Svit Bio TM, Khmelnytsk region.
  4. Olena Berezovska, an initiator and Chairman of the Board of the Public Union of Certified Organic Producers "Organic Ukraine", Kyiv city.
  5. Valentyn Obschtyr, Chairman of the Steering Committee of Staryi Porytsk Company, organic milk producer, Volyn region.
  6. Ruslan Bilyk, Facilitator Dairy, Swiss-Ukrainian Project "Organic Market Development in Ukraine" (2012-2016), Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Kyiv city.
  7. Tetyana Sytnyk, Director of Retail Academy, the partner of the Public Union of Certified Organic Producers "Organic Ukraine", Kyiv city.
  8. Sergiy Ryabeka, Head of Advertising and Distant Trade Control, Inspection of Consumer Rights Protection in Kyiv city.

Organizer: the Public Union of Certified Organic Producers "Organic Ukraine", Kyiv city.

Further information

Contact

Tel. 067-17-17-577, ob(at)organicukraine.org.ua.

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Press release (360.7 KB)

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