Safety data sheet knowledge base – Unique Formula Identifier. Application of the UFI and labelling of mixtures
The Unique Formula Identifier (UFI) is a 16-character code to be added on the labels of the hazardous mixtures. The UFI code allows toxicological centers to provide information on hazardous mixtures in case of an emergency.
The directions regarding UFI will be introduced in stages (depending on the type of use) in a harmonised format for all EEA member states from 2020 onwards.
The directions regarding the application of an UFI and changes regarding the labelling of mixtures have been published in Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/542. At the same time, Annex VIII has been added to Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 on the classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures (CLP).
The provisions of the relevant regulation apply to all types of „submitters”, like downstream users (placing mixtures on the market), downstream formulators (manufacturers of hazardous mixture in mixtures) and importers.
UFI is mandatory for mixtures classified for health or physical hazards, but stakeholders may also choose to use the UFI for non-hazardous products or products which are classified for environmental hazard only.
Products falling outside the scope of the regulation:
Using ECHA’s online web-based application, you can create a unique UFI code by giving the VAT number of your company and the formulation number of the mixture.
The UFI generator is accessible here. It is free of charge and is available in all official EU languages.
UFI identifies a particular composition. A particular UFI code can only be used as long as the composition or the component ratio (within a certain concentration range) does not change in the given mixture. When requesting a new UFI due to a change in composition, the previous formulation number shall not be used any longer.
As a result of the above, it is not necessary to request a new UFI if the name of the mixture changes. The same formula identifier can be used for different trade names and is valid for all EEA member countries. However, the company concerned may decide to place the same product on the market under different trade names and use an independent UFI for them (hence, the fact that the product with a different name actually covers a mixture of the same composition remains hidden from the consumer).
Specifications are also permissive for fragrances and colorants. There is no need to generate a new UFI code when adding a new, non-hazardous fragrance or colorant. The same applies in case of a slight change in the concentration of these substances.
The submitter designated by Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/542 shall submit the notification toward the appointed Member State bodies (usually toxicological centers) in accordance with the following general criteria:
The following information must also be provided when submitting a UFI:
* Information on non-hazardous components must also be provided during the UFI notification. The information provided in the safety data sheet is not necessarily sufficient to fulfill the obligation to notify.
By 2025, the UFI must appear on the label of all products classified for health or physical hazards according to the following schedule:
1 January 2020
Notification of the UFI and other product information for mixtures intended for consumer use.
1 January 2021
Notification of the UFI and other product information for mixtures intended for professional use.
1 January 2024
Notification of the UFI and other product information for mixtures intended for industrial use only.
1 January 2025
The end of the transitional period for mixtures already placed on the market.
If the downstream user uses an already existing mixture to formulate a new mixture, then it is sufficient to know the UFI code of the mixture used instead of its composition. The practical background to this is that at the time of the UFI notification, all the ingredients should be given, which would cause serious difficulties in case of a “mixture in mixture” product. The composition of the mixture used has probably already been submitted by someone in the supply chain, so in the knowledge of the UFI the potential hazards are already known by the authority. Of course, the UFI code of the mixture used for the formulation of the new mixture should not appear on the label (but the UFI of the finished product should), thus avoiding the disclosure of confidential information.