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Igor Gaevskiy: “EEC is determined to fight against counterfeit and falsified goods, protecting consumer rights”

Igor Gaevskiy: “EEC is determined to fight against counterfeit and falsified goods, protecting consumer rights”

3/29/2018

The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) countries should adopt single approaches in the field of control over the production and circulation of food products as well as establish unified liability measures for violations in this area. Such proposals were made by the attendees of the round table “Food Safety and the EAEU Consumer Rights Protection”, organized by the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC).

Representatives of regulatory state authorities, civil society associations of consumers, science, manufacturers of the Union countries, which took part in the event, noted that the Commission as a leading institution of the EAEU countries should have the function of genuine control over the observance of treaties and acts of the Union, implementation of decisions taken at its site. Protection of the consumer market will be ensured by the creation of such control mechanism.

“There are a lot of counterfeit and falsified goods on the Union market,” stressed Igor Gaevskiy, Director of the EEC Department for Sanitary, Phytosanitary and Veterinary Measures. - It is a serious problem. The Commission has adopted hundreds of documents in various sectors of the economy to deal with unsafe goods. But the enforcement of these documents is left at the national level. The absence of single control approaches in the EAEU countries creates certain loopholes for unfair entrepreneurs, including on the food market.”

Most violations are related to non-compliance of the goods’ microbiological, sanitary and hygienic safety indicators with statutory requirements of the Union. In some cases, the EAEU technical regulations on labeling are not observed: for example, packages do not provide any details about separate components contained in a particular product; invalid inscriptions are made that mislead consumers, etc.

The round table attendees noted that there was a long-standing need for adequate measures. First of all, the round table attendees proposed to harmonize the legislation of the Member States in the field of consumer rights protection and control over the production and circulation of food products. Yet, it should be done after some serious scientific research work is carried out in order to understand the depth and nature of such harmonization. By all accounts, this might be undertaken by the Eurasian Economic Commission together with the leading scientists of the Union countries.

The second proposal to protect the rights of consumers as smoothly as possible is to use the single information base of the EAEU, being formed by the Commission now. In particular, it is necessary to create some registers of dangerous food products, their manufactures and violations detected in this sphere, by making the information available to any user. Then it would be enough to visit the EEC website to determine your possible purchase in advance. The alternative option might be to expand up to the Union level the experience regarding similar information system, which is already created under the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing (Rospotrebnadzor).

Finally, the third important initiative presented at the round table is related to the need of increasing business responsibility through introduction of risk-based approaches of control and self-regulation principles within the EAEU countries. Indeed, unfair entrepreneurs usually falsify popular food products in pursuit of profit. Having seen a familiar name on the label, consumers often buy such product at an overvalued price and of low quality.
Application of common control approaches, establishment of single liability measures, a clear algorithm of interaction of controlling authorities of the Union countries with each other and the EEC, as well as granting the Commission real powers in the field of supervision – all of this, according to the round table attendees, will allow building effective barriers to illegal and falsified food products on the Eurasian market.

For reference

The round table was attended by representatives of a number of controlling state authorities of the EAEU countries, civil society consumer organizations – the Consumer Union of the Russian Federation, Roscontrol, Belarusian Society of Consumer Rights Protection; business associations, carrying out their activities in the sphere of production and turnover of food products, – Republic-Level Agro-Industrial Union, BelAPS, Association “Fat-and-Oil Union of Kazakhstan”, the National Union of Milk Producers (Soyuzmoloko), the Union of Food Ingredients Producers, Association of Producers and Suppliers of Food Products “Rusprodsoyuz”; in the sphere of science – RUE “Scientific and Practical Center for Foodstuffs of the Belarusian National Academy of Sciences”, FGBUN “FITZ Food and Biotechnology”, All-Union Research Institute of Confectionary Industry (branch of the V.M. Gorbatov Federal Research Center for Food Systems), as well as St. Petersburg State Budgetary Institution “Center for Quality Control of Goods (Products), Works and Services”.