Why the UFI matters

Small child looking at a detergent bottle


Why do you need to know about the UFI code?  

If you, or one of your family members, would accidentally get exposed to a product containing harmful chemicals, in most cases, your first point of contact is either a poison centre or the emergency health services.  

In previous years, poison centres estimated that in 40 % of calls received, they had difficulties to quickly and accurately identify the product involved, leading to overcautious treatment.

So, from January 2021 on, when you seek medical advice in the EU, you may be asked for the UFI code which you can find on the label of certain everyday chemical products.  

The idea of the UFI code is simple. It is a 16-character unique formula identifier that links information about the product, its uses, ingredients and toxicity. Having the code at hand makes it easier and faster for poison centre operators to advise you or your physician on correct treatment, if any. 

Which products have a UFI code

Which products have a UFI code?

The UFI code is found on products that are classified for health or physical hazards under the EU’s Regulation on Classification, Labelling and Packaging. Classified products are those which display a pictogram and they may be harmful to your health if not used correctly. 

Examples of the types of products you can expect to see a UFI code include: 

  • Adhesives such as common glue sticks or more specialised adhesives for wall coverings or flooring;
  • Air care products from room deodorisers to scented candles;
  • Art and craft supplies including finger or hobby paints;
  • Cleaning and maintenance products both for indoor areas, such as the kitchen or bathroom, and for outside areas like terraces or stone pathways.
  • Specialised cleaning products including those meant for cleaning cars or footwear;
  • Detergents for washing laundry, washing machine or dishwasher care agents, as well as fabric softeners;
  • Mixtures for electronic cigarettes;
  • Garden chemicals such as plant fertilisers and pesticides;
  • Home construction products like concrete and mortar;
  • Paints and coatings;
  • Fuels such as grill lighter fluids and lamp fuels; and
  • Inks and toners for printers. 

If you cannot find the UFI code, this may be because companies have until the beginning of 2025 to add it to labels if their product was already on the market before 2021. 

You will also not find the UFI code, for example, on labels for cosmetics like hair dyes, shampoo or hairspray, or in pharmaceutical products, as they are regulated by different laws.

UFI animation


Where is the UFI

Where on the label is the UFI found?

Packaging comes in all shapes and sizes. This means that the UFI will not always be in the exact same place on the label of each product. However, it should always be clearly visible on the product near its trade or brand name, or near the hazard information that includes, for example, pictograms and advice on how to use the product safety. 

The UFI may even appear directly on the product or on a sticker but, in any case, the UFI should never appear on the bottom of the package. 

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