Drum with label for hazardous substances

EU chemicals regulation: Unique Formula Identifier (UFI) soon mandatory

A Unique Formula Identifier (UFI) will soon be required by law on the labels of products classified for health or physical hazards. The 16-digit code is intended to help Poison Centres to be able to precisely identify the chemicals involved in an incident and provide adequate medical advice.

The industrial obligation has been introduced by Annex VIII to the CLP Regulation, which aligns the European Union system of classification, labelling and packaging of chemical substances and mixtures to the Globally Harmonised System (GHS).

The upcoming requirements apply to importers and downstream users who place hazardous mixtures on the market. It will be mandatory to submit notifications with certain product details (e.g. trade name, product category, composition, colour, packaging, toxicological information) as well as the UFI to the appointed bodies such as poison centres.

How to create the UFI code

Product label with Unique Formula Identifier (UFI)
Sample product label with Unique Formula Identifier (UFI) on the bottom right above the barcode

The Unique Formula Identifier is an alphanumeric code consisting of 16 letters and digits divided by hyphens into 4 sections. The marking has to be clearly visible and legible on the label. The acronym “UFI” must always be prefixed in capitals.

In order to create the UFI, the company’s VAT ID (or ‘company key’) and a mixture-specific formulation number are required. The latter can, for example, be an internal formulation code as long as it is exclusively numeric and lies between 0 and 268,435,255. Otherwise, new numbers must be assigned in the correct format.

With these data you can easily create UFIs via the UFI Generator Tool of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). Companies without VAT ID can also request a company key there.

Important note: Only products with the very same mixture composition may be labelled with and assigned to the same UFI.

When to start with UFI labeling

The CLP Regulation annex will enter into force as from January 1, 2020. Depending on the product, the following transition periods apply for UFI submissions and labeling:

  • by 1 January 2020 for all new mixtures for use by consumers
  • by 1 January 2021 for all new mixtures for professional use
  • by 1 January 2024 for all new mixtures for industrial use
  • by 1 January 2025 for mixtures already on the market and notified under national legislation

Companies should start planning all necessary steps as soon as possible to ensure full compliance before their deadline. Professional marking systems such as Weber Marking Systems’ industrial inkjet printers or print & apply labeling systems are ideal solutions for printing or affixing UFI codes on product labels. We look forward to consulting with you personally at your premises, at no cost!

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