To enter a competitive struggle, you have to be certificated Печать E-mail

Natalia Bortko

Government Resolution of Russian Federation № 982, dated December 1, 2009 "On approval of the unified list of products subject to mandatory certification and the unified list of products for which the confirmation of conformity is made in the form of a declaration of conformity" called off the mandatory certification of food and cosmetic products.

The resolution came to force on February 15. Now instead of mandatory certification, product producers have to complete a declaration of conformity and oblige to produce goods in accordance with the asserted requirements of security. The declaration should be registered in the authorized certification agency in the presence of probative documents. The main proofs of product conformity to the asserted requirements can be safety test certificates of a producer, veterinary certificates, reports of sanitary and healthcare inspection and quality management certificates. From this moment, enterprises-producers and a seller are responsible for the quality and the safety of products.

This Resolution makes consumers feel alarmed. It is not improbable that a lot of low-quality sausages, cheese, canned goods and other products will hit the shelves of our shops. Moreover, not only the domestic products but also the number of imported ones will increase. The concern that a consumer will be less protected from the low-quality products is reasonable. Not every businessman will give up the idea to prefer profit to quality. And having such a tendency, we can return back to the level of 90's again when a number of faulty products was enormous.

Today, Federal Supervision Agency for Customer Protection and Human Welfare has a right to check the enterprise (upon the authorization of public prosecution) once in three years according to the Federal law № 294. Certification agencies do not see the enterprise and its production during the declaration procedure that is why the risk of producing faulty products increases. The mandatory certification of products came to force in 1993, when Russia was overloaded with low-quality products from all over the world. They took 95% of the whole market, and the government decided to create a barrier for faulty products to enter the market. The system of mandatory certification became one of the ways to guarantee the quality of products.

Over the last years the situation has slightly changed. We do not strive for buying "Bush's drumsticks" and prefer Russian crow. However, in spite of the severe conditions of standards, there are still a lot of unfair producers and suppliers. It is not a secret that there is a possibility to forge the certificate.

Even having the mandatory certification, there were a lot of facts of selling low-quality products in trading networks.
Under present-day conditions, Russian market is not ready to call off the mandatory certification of products as the extent of responsibility of producers and sellers is very low.

Calling off the mandatory certification in Russia is a premature measure. Especially, we do not have to harry up with telling "no" to the mandatory certification as we haven't told "yes" yet to making the responsibility of producing low-quality products more severe.

It should be noted that there is no mandatory certification of products in European countries as it is more widespread to resort to a voluntary certification and a voluntary declaration of quality. Nevertheless, the trust to a producer and a seller in these countries is reinforced by the strict control with heavy fines. For example, the total assessment of conformity came to force in European Union on January 1, 2010 where the quality of products is under the responsibility of the producer, the importer and the distributor. As a result, Europeans are protected from the low-quality products from three sides. In case of finding out low-quality products, a guilty person will have to pay off loss-making fines and get a prohibition to practice, meaning that this person will never get the possibility to work with food products.

In Russia the owners of shops and enterprises, which deal with food products and where a spoiled and out of terms product has been found out or where the norms of hygiene have been neglected, will have to pay off a fine at a rate of 500-2000 rubles. The most "loss-making" fine for corporate persons is 10000 rubles.

That is why experts believe that an implementation of a voluntary declaration should be conducted simultaneously with the sanction-increase for law-breakers. Otherwise, it will be more convenient for businessmen to pay off 2-3 thousands of rubles and to continue produce products of a questionable quality. While members of a parliament need time to insert an amendment into the Code of Administrative Offences, we have to protect ourselves from the low-quality products: ask suppliers to change the mandatory certification onto the declaration of conformity, to provide a letter of conveyance, a qualitative certificate for each parcel of goods and a veterinary certificate. We should pay a special attention to a marking label, choose products which have been produced according to the state standards and which have come through the voluntary certification. Having all necessary documents can guarantee that the quality of products and its production is under the control of experts who have the certificates certified by the Federal agency for technical regulation and metrology. What is more, there are special departments, which control the quality of products, and qualified commodity experts, who check these products elaborately, in large trading networks. And with the implementation of a voluntary declaration, specialists working in these sphere, will check the quality of products more thoroughly.

Producers who are concerned about their image can also get a voluntary certification which will prove that their products have conformity with standards.

A voluntary certification guarantees the quality, the naturalness and the safety of a product. The certificate proves the competitive advantage and helps to increase the trust to products or services.

Enterprises which have received a voluntary certification in a chamber of commerce and industry, get the certificate and the right to use the label of the chamber to promote the products on the market.

All controlling organizations have to consider the availability of a voluntary certificate according to the chap. 3, section 12 of the law of RF "On Chambers of Commerce and Industry in the Russian Federation» as the documents issued by chambers of commerce and industry should be considered by all governmental agencies on the territory of RF. In case of law violation, an organization has the right to petition the arbitration court.



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