In this blog, we’ll cover everything you need to know about UFI. From its meaning and importance to how it’s generated, we’ll give you a complete overview of this crucial identifier. So, let’s dive in!
What is UFI?
The UFI system was introduced as part of the European Union’s CLP Regulation, which governs the classification, labelling, and packaging of chemicals. Under this regulation, companies and downstream users that manufacture or import hazardous mixtures into the EU must include a UFI on the label of their products.
The UFI code consists of four sections: a company identifier, a product identifier, a batch number, and a check digit. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) assigns the company identifier and identifies the company that has registered the product. The product identifier is assigned by the company and identifies the specific product. The batch number is optional and can be used to identify a specific product batch. The check digit is calculated using a formula to ensure the accuracy of the UFI code.
In addition to the UFI, there is the requirement to notify products to the relevant Poison Centre of the country where it is manufactured or imported. The products are notified as a Poison Centre Notification product dossier. There’s a requirement to provide other information on the mixture and associated products, such as trade name, composition, colour, packaging, product category and toxicological information.
What is the purpose of UFI?
When and where does a UFI code apply?
Hazardous mixtures are those that (a) fall into the scope of CLP and (b) have a physical or health hazard classification. So, if your product/mixture is labelled with one of the following hazard pictograms for human exposure, the UFI code must be included on the label. Mixtures classified as environmental hazards only can be notified on a voluntary basis.
How does UFI work?
Here’s how the UFI system works:
- Manufacturers and importers of hazardous chemical products register their products with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). As part of the registration process, they are assigned a company identifier by the ECHA.
- Manufacturers and importers then generate a unique product identifier for each product. This identifier is linked to the company identifier, and together they form the first part of the UFI code.
- Manufacturers and importers can also include an optional batch number in the UFI code, allowing them to identify a specific product batch if needed.
- The final part of the UFI code is a check digit, which is calculated using a formula to ensure the accuracy of the UFI code.
The UFI code is then printed on the label of the hazardous chemical product.
How to generate a UFI code?
To generate a UFI code for your mixture, you will need the following:
- Company’s VAT number (or ‘company key’ in specific cases)
- The mixture-specific formulation number
You will then need to enter those two numbers into ECHA’s UFI Generator online tool, which will provide you with your UFI code. It’s as simple as that!
For efficiency purposes, if you manage a sizable product portfolio, you can create your own generator in your company’s IT system, enabling a more automated method for creating UFIs in bulk. You must refer to the UFI developer’s manual for this option.
Additionally, the UFI respects the integrity of your private business data as the codes are always encrypted. For example, the UFI cannot be used to decode information about the mixture composition. Only poison centres will be aware of what mixture composition matches the given UFI.
When do you need to produce a new UFI code?
How can UFI benefit your business?
The good news is that the deadline for submitting this information will vary based on the intended use of the mixture – whether it’s for consumer, professional, or industrial use. So don’t worry, you won’t need to rush to meet the same deadline as everyone else!
For those of you who still need to notify your mixtures under national legislation, there are some specific dates you should be aware of. To comply with the updated CLP Regulation, you’ll need to follow Annex VIII from the following dates:
- Mixtures for consumer use – from 1 January 2020
- Mixtures for professional use – from 1 January 2021
- Mixtures for industrial use – from 1 January 2024