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9 Aug 2017

Belarusian companies take active part in Natural Product movement

MINSK, 9 August (BelTA) – Belarusian enterprises are taking an active part in the Natural Product movement for using the term “natural” in food labeling, Chairman of the Belarusian State Standardization Committee Viktor Nazarenko noted during the online conference hosted by BelTA on 9 August.

“A certificate confirming compliance with requirements is required to label a product ‘natural’. As of today, 44 companies have obtained 134 certificates for 213 food products,” Viktor Nazarenko pointed out.

Milk and dairy products account for the largest number of certificates (86), meat products, including poultry, account for 19 certificates, drinking and mineral water have 17 ones.

The requirements and regulations governing the use of the 'natural' food label are set forth in Technical Code of Common Practice No. 126 “Food products. Regulations for using the term ‘natural’ in food labeling. General provisions”. When not less than 95% of the raw materials contained in the finished food product are organic agricultural ingredients, the term “natural” may be used to label it. The production process must not apply genetic engineering methods and ionizing radiation. Restrictions are imposed on the use of food additives, too: only separate additives can be used with separate kinds of products.

“Such approach is in step with the international and European practice regarding organic products. The ‘natural’ food label does not advertise a product as organic. It is just a certain step in this direction,” Viktor Nazarenko stressed.

The “natural” food label is put voluntarily upon the initiative of the applicant. The latter must meet the requirements of Technical Code of Common Practice No. 126 and declare the compliance with them. This means, in particular, that the applicant must guarantee that the products contain no pesticides, antibiotics, plant and animal growth stimulants, hormonal agents, GMOs, and also that the goods and their production satisfy all the requirements.

The applicant bears the responsibility for ensuring the compliance of food products with requirements and obligations. If the certification body receives complaints about the quality of food products from customers, trading organizations, and organizations controlling the safety and quality of certified food products, it will carry out an inspection to decide whether the company can retain the certificate.

Acccording to Viktor Nazarenko, not a single certificate has been canceled since Technical Code of Common Practice No. 126 was adopted. There have been some cases, however, when the certification authority refused to issue a certificate because the products did not meet the requirements.

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