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The UFI labeling of dangerous mixtures in chemistry

What you need to know about the Unique Formula Identifier (UFI) | 04/16/2020 | EU chemicals regulation CLP

A new labeling requirement for chemicals comes into force on the basis of the CLP regulation - the clocks are ticking! Find out more now so that the new requirements can be implemented in your company on time.

A new labeling element can be found on products in 2020: the 16-digit UFI, a unique recipe identifier - this is ensured by the adaptation of the so-called CLP regulation (EU chemicals regulation (EC) No. 1272/2008). The transition period will end on January 1st, 2025: The UFI must be affixed to the labels of products that may pose health or physical hazards. With the UFI code, the poison control center can clearly assign the product in the event of an emergency call and thus guarantee adequate medical advice.


CLP regulation at a glance

Manufacturers, importers and users downstream in the supply chain of products that are filled with hazardous mixtures must add a 16-digit alphanumeric UFI code to their product labeling. This is a unique recipe identifier and must be applied to the product label.

The CLP regulation is valid throughout the European Economic Area (EEA). This includes all 28 member states plus Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Switzerland. In Switzerland, special regulations apply in addition to the CLP regulation.


What is the UFI (Unique Formula Identifier)?

The UFI is a unique, 16-digit alphanumeric recipe identifier . In future, this must be applied to all product labels for hazardous mixtures. The UFI code creates a connection between the mixture and the associated safety information.

In addition to the UFI, the poison control center must be given further information: composition, trade name, color, packaging, product category and toxicological information. In this way, a clear connection can be established between the submitted product information and the product brought onto the market. All products that have the same UFI therefore also have the same mixture composition. The UFI code is encrypted data. This ensures that mixture recipes cannot be viewed by external bodies inside or outside the supply chain (e.g. competitors).

The code is linked to a central database. This contains safety information for each hazardous mixture. To ensure the flexibility of your production, it is a good idea to print the code online in the production line.


What is the purpose of the UFI?

The UFI is primarily used in the event of an emergency call. The UFI enablesthe mixture to be clearly identified .For example, an employee of the poison control center can clearly assign the mixture with the help of the UFI in combination with the product name - this ensures adequate medical advice. The caller can find all relevant information on the product label.


Which products must be labeled with the UFI code?

If the product is labeled with one of the following hazard pictograms for human risk, the UFI code must be listed on the label or in the safety data sheet. The UFI code always refers to the containing mixture. So if a product or brand name changes, the UFI can be retained.


Overview of hazard signs
Overview of hazard signs

How can the UFI be generated?

To generate a product-specific UFI, you need your sales tax identification number and a mixture-specific formulation number . By using the VAT ID, the uniqueness of the UFI is achieved and overlaps between different manufacturers are excluded. To manually create the UFI code, the VAT ID and the formulation number are entered in the ECHA UFI Generator online tool, which then provides you with the UFI code.

For companies with an extensive product range, it can make sense to purchase a UFI generator with an interface to your IT system. The b + b UFI manager with generator function is available as an expansion module in our label design software LabelsPlatform 4 and with complete order, article, reporting and label management as an independent b + b site server solution. In addition to CLP compliance, the latter also enables the optional labeling of your products and containers with a unique serial number. This lays the foundation for the prevention of product piracy and the transparency of your entire supply chain.



If you are already using internal recipe codes, you can use these as formulation numbers - provided these are exclusively numeric. In all other cases you must first assign a new formulation number to your mixtures. The combination of formulation number and VAT ID may only be used for thesame composition of mixtures. The UFI codes must be communicated to the ECHA (European Chemicals Agency) together with the assigned mixture.


When does the UFI code have to be adjusted?

If the composition of the mixture or a supplied mixture changes, a new UFI code must be assigned to the product. The new UFI and the changes must be passed on to ECHA.

In principle, a mixture can also have several UFI codes, if desired. This can be the case, for example, if the same mixtures are traded under different brand names - and should not bear the same UFI.

The same UFI code can not be used can be used for different mixtures.


Does the UFI have to be applied to a label?

If a product is marked with a label, the UFI must be applied to the label. The UFI may only be specified in the safety data sheet in exceptional cases. This is the case when a product does not receive a label.


What are the rules for applying the UFI to a label?

"UFI" is an acronym in all EU official languages. UFI must always be used in capital letters and preceded by a 16-digit alphanumeric code - which is divided into four sections by hyphens. There are no specifications regarding the font and font size. Labels often vary in terms of their size or format, but theUFI must still be clearly visibleon the label. Preferably near the barcode or the hazard pictograms. The decision as to how the UFI is printed or attached to the label is up to the company - it is important that the UFI can be used as effectively as possible at the poison control center.


Which technologies are suitable for applying the UFI to the label?

In general, there are many ways to code your product labels. The selection of the right technology depends, among other things, on: the production environment, the production speed, the variety of products, the product formats and the number of products. In the following we will inform you about possible solutions.



Use of label printers

By using label printers, the UFI code can be printed on the label. As apartner of well-known manufacturersof label printers, thermal transfer printers and inkjet printers, b + b offers you the right solution for your requirements - depending on the production speed, the number of products to be labeled and the production environment. With multi-color printing systems, the hazard symbols can be printed directly on the label.


Use of print-and-dispense systems

The use of label printing dispensers is generally possible. Here the UFI code is printed on the label and then applied to the product. The new label printing dispenser EDS 420i | EDS 620i from b + b is suitable for implementing the CLP regulation. This is compact, robust and can be flexibly integrated into your production line. Multi-color printing and dispensing systems enable the corresponding hazard symbols to be printed directly.

Use of label design and automation software

With the help of labeling software, you can design and print your labels directly with UFI code. The label software Labelplatform 4 from b + b enables you to easily implement the requirements with the help of the expansion moduleb + b UFI-Manager with generator function.


Use of a UFI generator

For companies with an extensive product range, it can make sense to purchase a UFI generator with an interface to your IT system. In addition to the LP4 UFI manager, b + b also anindependent b + b Site Server solutioncomplete order, article, reporting and label management. In addition to CLP compliance, this also enables the optional labeling of your products and containers with a unique serial number. This lays the foundation for the prevention of product piracy and the transparency of your entire supply chain.


Which technology is the economically best solution for your company?

The question of the right technology to implement the new UFI regulation always requires a differentiated assessment of the possibilities and consideration of your production and requirements. b + b will be happy to help you find the economically best solution for your company in order to meet the new legal requirements.


The deadlines of the CLP regulation at a glance

Specification of the UFI and other product information in the harmonized format:

  • January 01, 2020: for new mixtures that are intended for use by consumers

  • January 01, 2021: at new Mixtures intended for commercial use

  • January 01, 2024: at new Mixtures intended for industrial use

  • January 01, 2025: for existing Mixtures that are already on the market

From January 1st, 2025 The transition period for products that are already on the market ends - from then on, all mixtures must contain a UFI on the label.


The product information as well as the UFI code must be communicated to the poison control center before the deadline, which is why companies should put a UFI code on their label in good time and before the deadline. Specifically, this means: Companies should plan and implement the creation and printing of the UFI on their labels and corresponding company processes at an early stage - so that the new regulation can be implemented on time. b + b offers you acomplete solution from a single source for implementing the new regulation.We would be happy to advise you - contact us.

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