Rospotrebnadzor threatens traders with raids on shelves with dairy products

Rospotrebnadzor threatens traders with raids on shelves with dairy products Photo: Leysan Nabieva

The sales rules of dairy products have changed since July for the convenience of customers: going to a store, everyone should have the opportunity to immediately visually distinguish which milk products are made exclusively from natural milk and which contain plant substitutes. During the first two weeks of the effect of the relevant government decree, the Office of Rospotrebnadzor for the Republic of Tatarstan was explaining to representatives of networks and small shops how to change the layout of goods — now a series of inspections of the performance of this duty has begun. This was told to journalists by representatives of the department at the scheduled inspection of one of the stores of the “near the house” format. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

No need to read labels

Journalists were invited to Solnyshko store — a small shop on the first floor of a residential building. As press-secretary of the department of Milyausha Zamalieva explained to Realnoe Vremya, the inspection has already been there, and the shop has already fulfilled the requirements, so the agency chose it as the example for others to follow.

“Since July 1, the layout of milk-containing products, dairy products has become regulated — now it is possible to visually distinguish the products with substitutes for milk fat. In the sales area, there must be the information label accompanying the products,” chief specialist-expert of the department of food hygiene management supervision of Rospotrebnadzor in the republic of Tatarstan Tatyana Mozhaeva explained to the journalists. Milk fat substitutes are something that are not found in natural milk. For example, these are vegetable oils, most often palm oil.”

It is possible to inform customers, as required by law, in different ways — to put products without substitutes for milk fat on one shelf, and with substitutes — on another, or indicate their presence or absence directly on the price tag, as large networks prefer to do. It is possible to label products, shelves or whole refrigerators with a colour. “It is even recommended by the ministry of trade and Rospotrebnadzor of the Russian Federation — it is possible to display these products in a separate refrigerator at a temperature not higher than 6 degrees,” says Mozhaeva.

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“Since July 1, the layout of milk-containing products, dairy products has become regulated — now it is possible to visually distinguish the products with substitutes for milk fat,” chief specialist-expert of the department of food hygiene management supervision of Rospotrebnadzor in the republic of Tatarstan Tatyana Mozhaeva explained

As Mozhaeva to Realnoe Vremya, large retail chains prefer to give information about the content of vegetable fats directly on the price tag. “They have the right to choose how [to provide information]. And the consumer — to choose a product for the child or for themselves with the content of a substitute for milk fat or without.”

The course on inspections

During the first two weeks of July, employees of the department held meetings with entrepreneurs and explained how to sale dairy products under the new rules: “Explanatory work is carried out, and it will also be carried out further,” the representatives of the department assured the journalists.

But beyond that, the department will conduct unscheduled on-site inspections in stores, Zamalieva said. “We, of course, also include large economic entities, large supermarkets, hypermarkets in the plan, as well as small shops within walking distance, where the activities are carried out by either individual entrepreneurs or legal entities,” said Mozhaeva.

According to the expert, persons who violated the law will be brought to administrative responsibility under the article 14.15 of the Administrative Code “Violation of the rules of sale of certain types of goods”. It assumes liability for legal entities in the amount of 10,000 rubles.

It is possible to inform customers, as required by law, in different ways — to put products without substitutes for milk fat on one shelf, and with substitutes — on another, or indicate their presence or absence directly on the price tag, as large networks prefer to do. It is possible to label products, shelves or whole refrigerators with a colour

“If it's a network, people who are smart about their actions, comments that were in one store, immediately eliminate in others,” says the interlocutor. When checking, the department employees carefully examine the labels of goods that are distributed in the store by category depending on the content of vegetable fat: “We look at the composition: there should be a compliance of products, and whether they are on the right shelf.”

Mozhaeva recognizes that it has already been discovered a store with non-compliance of the requirement, but decided not to name it.

According to the rules, prior to the unscheduled inspection, entrepreneurs are not notified about the inspection in advance. Mozhaeva has no information about how many objects must be checked. Preliminary results of inspections can appear only after 2 weeks.

Focus on producers

The producers themselves will also be checked: the employees of the department will send samples for analysis for the content of vegetable sterols during the inspections of shops. If the store sells goods containing vegetable analogues and there is no such indication on the packaging, the store will bear liability, as well as the supplier of products and the manufacturer, says Mozhaeva:

“We are checking in routine, unscheduled inspections the products and direct them to study for the contents of vegetable sterols. If the content of vegetable sterols that are not declared on the label is detected, the department takes measures against the seller who sells these products, the supplier of these products, and, of course, against the manufacturer — that is, all three links that are involved in the turnover of this dairy products adulterated with vegetable fats. They are all brought to administrative responsibility under the part 1 of the art. 14.43 — this is a violation of technical regulations. We have the facts of identification, we bring all three chains to responsibility.”

If the store sells goods containing vegetable analogues and there is no such indication on the packaging, the store will bear liability, as well as the supplier of products and the manufacturer, says Mozhaeva

The interlocutor noted that in such situation the seller should protect himself, “It is clear that he will not be able to check each product for the presence of vegetable sterols because this is a financially costly procedure, but he should check at least selectively.”

Zamalieva shared with the correspondent of Realnoe Vremya that the results of the preliminary analysis of the situation in some other regions revealed a decrease in sales of products with a substitute for milk fat: “It turns out that the consumer seemed to make a choice unconsciously. But now, when his attention has been focused, he preferred products without substitutes. The colleagues said that it was noted during the inspections, informally.”

By Leysan Nabieva, author’s photo
Tatarstan