Unique Formula Identifiers (UFI) & Product Packaging

Published: 14 January 2021

As a result of a change in EU legislation, the packaging of products containing hazardous properties sold into the EU and Northern Ireland must contain a UFI, a 16-character code which will be used by poison centres for emergency health response purposes in case of incidents involving the product.

The changes apply to all goods containing hazardous properties, including most household cleaning products and paint, as well as adhesives, coatings and primers.

If you supply product into Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) only, you do not require a UFI. However, you must submit your MSDSs to the UK poison centre, NPIS (http://www.npis.org/org).

 

What is a UFI?

A new label element needs to appear on product labels – a 16-character alphanumeric code called the Unique Formula Identifier (UFI). By 2025, the UFI will be mandatory on the label of all products that contain a hazardous mixture, i.e. classified for health or physical hazards, sold into the EU (including Southern Ireland) and Northern Ireland.

Those placing such products on the market will have to provide specific product information, including the UFI, to poison centres. 

If you place our product on the market under your brand, you will need to register your product and create your own individual UFI – Apollo cannot do this for you. 

 

When are UFI changes required?

Your company will be obligated to have notified poison centres of the UFI and other product information by the following deadlines:

  • 1 January 2021 for products intended for consumer & professional use
  • 1 January 2024 for products intended for industrial use only
  • 1 January 2025 if you have already submitted your product details and MSDS to applicable poison centres to benefit from the transitional period

You need to be ready with your UFI on the label before your deadline to submit this product information to the applicable poison centres. 

For new products, you must submit the required information before you place the mixture on the market.

 

How to create a UFI

Simply enter your company’s VAT number and a numerical mixture-specific formulation number into the ECHA’s UFI Generator online tool to get your UFI code.

It is essential that you do not re-use the same formulation number using the same VAT number when the mixtures have different compositions. 

 

What are the rules for adding UFI to products?

Once you have created your 16-character alphanumeric UFI codes, these must be printed on to the label of all your products containing hazardous mixtures in time for the appropriate deadlines.

The acronym ‘UFI’ must be in capital letters and be followed by a 16-character alphanumeric code. While no specific requirements have been set, such as for font type or size, the UFI must be clearly visible and legible on the label of the product.

Given the wide variation in label sizes, and the other label elements competing for space, the UFI should be positioned so that it can be easily located, for example near the hazard pictograms. You must determine how the UFI should be printed in the most effective manner to ensure it is clearly visible. An example of a label clearly showing the UFI is below:


 

Standard H&S labels printed at Apollo, with your branding:
On standard branded health and safety labels printed at Apollo (known as E1 labels), we can add the UFI to the label. As you are placing the product on the market under your brand, you will need to create your specific UFI for each product and notify the applicable poison centres yourselves. You will then need to provide us with your specific UFI for the product, so we can add this to the label. This is simple for us to add on with the software that automatically creates the labels and can be actioned as soon as you have created your UFI. 

 

Fully-branded labels:
Fully-branded labels (known as E2 labels at Apollo) that incorporate health and safety, will need to incorporate the UFI code. The artwork will need to be sent to us in plenty of time before the applicable deadlines or product launch. This ensures we can check the label and order them in time.

If Apollo have designed your label for you, you will need to provide us with your UFI so we can add it to the artwork.

 

Registering UFI with Poison Centres

Once your UFI is ready on your labels, the final stage is to submit a poison centre notification (PCN) dossier to the ECHA submission portal. The UFI on the label of the product should coincide with the PCN submission. This will involve supplying product information including the UFI and formulation composition details. You may not have the full composition details of the product. In this case, you can put our UFI for the product in the composition details section. Please contact Apollo so we can provide you with our UFI. 

 

Further information on how to create a dossier can be found here

For more information, please refer to the ECHA guidelines, or contact your Account Manager.