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Starting January 2020, new labeling requirements for dangerous mixtures will apply in the EU. These mixtures include cleaning and washing agents. Manufacturers and distributors must therefore mark their products with the so-called Unique Formula Identifier (UFI). In the case of emergencies, this new code on the product packaging will help consumers and poison centers to exactly identify mixtures without any doubt.

Shower gels

Manufacturers who produce or place dangerous mixtures on the European market have extensive product labeling obligations. In addition to the already mandatory warning statements and hazard pictograms, another labeling element for hazardous mixtures is added.

From January 1, 2020 onwards, biocides, special-purpose cleaners and other cleaning agents must be provided with a uniform formulation identifier, the Unique Formula Identifier (UFI). For detergents (that are not classified as hazardous mixtures) using UFI labeling is also recommended. Only mixtures solely classified as “gas under pressure” and/or “explosive” are excluded from this labeling requirement.

What does the UFI consist of and where will it be indicated?

The UFI is a 16-digit alphanumeric code that is used for the harmonized product notification according to Annex VIII of the CLP regulation. This regulation governs classification, labeling and packaging of substances and mixtures within the European Union. Annex VIII, which was introduced in the amending Regulation VO (EU) 2017/542, contains the terms of the responsibilities and generation of, and work with, the UFI. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has also published a guideline for the implementation of Annex VIII of the CLP regulation.

How companies generate the UFI

The UFI must be generated by the manufacturing companies themselves for each individual product or formulation. The UFI generator from ECHA that is available on the Internet helps in this matter. Subsequently, the UFI must be indicated on the packaging and possibly in the safety data sheets.

Notification of hazardous mixtures to poison centers

It is also part of the new obligations for companies to send the generated codes, together with all other information about the hazardous mixtures, to the poison centers. The German Federal Office of Consumer Protection (Bundesamt für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit – BVL) maintains a list of poison centers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The list is only available in German.

Deadlines for UFI labeling

Companies that either manufacture or import hazardous mixtures or use them in their products must adhere to the following deadlines for transmitting data to the poison centers. Within the respective deadline, they must also have incorporated the UFI on their product labels.

  • Mixtures for private end users: 01.01.2020
  • Mixtures for commercial use (not industrial): 01.01.2021
  • Mixtures for industrial use: 01.01.2024

Transitional periods for products on the market

For all substances and mixtures that are already on the European market, regardless of their type of use, a transitional period until January 2025 applies. For products that fall into more than one area of application, the shortest period applies. Up to the dates indicated above, the current national regulations continue to apply.

The UFI ensures first aid in poison emergencies

The UFI is designed to provide even more effective help for poison emergency calls – for example, if infants inadvertently ingest detergents. In such an emergency, consumers should be able to find the code on the product labels quickly. The poison centers can then unambiguously identify a mixture via the UFI and immediately advise first aid measures.

The testing company SGS Institut Fresenius supports manufacturers, importers and users of (dangerous) mixtures with product tests and labeling assessments, as the correct product labeling with the UFI.

Labeling assessments and analytical testing for cleaning agents, washing agents, biocides and other mixtures

  • Labeling assessments according to national and international regulations
  • Quantification and identification of ingredients such as fragrance compounds, preservatives, surfactants, solvents and biocidal agents
  • Analysis for impurities
  • Performance testing according to internal methods of SGS Institut Fresenius
  • Tests according to official testing methods
  • Performance tests according to AISE/IKW
  • Development of new test methods
  • Support and consultancy on quality management and product safety
  • Tests in accordance with the standards European Ecolabel (EU Ecolabel), Blue Angel (German Ecolabel) and Nordic Swan

Contact details

SGS INSTITUT FRESENIUS GmbH
Im Maisel 14
D-65232 Taunusstein
+49 6128 744 652

SGS INSTITUT FRESENIUS Austria GmbH
Fritz-Atzl-Straße 8
A-6300 Wörgl
+43 5332 77203 20