People who are interested in commencing business in the food industry or those who already have experience in this field are oftentimes unaware of the standards and requirements established by the legislation of the Republic of Azerbaijan in this sphere. If we draw our attention to the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan «On Licenses and Permits», it will become clear that the activity of food chain facilities (operators), as well as facilities producing and processing materials and products being in direct contact with food products, is permitted only upon their registration.
What is implied by “food chain”? According to clause 1 of the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan on “Food Safety” the concept of “food chain” includes primary production, production, processing, turnover and utilization of food and feed products.
How can we identify whether an activity falls under abovementioned categories? The answer to our question may lie in definitions reflected in Article 1 of the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan on “Food Safety”. Thus:
- Primary production refers to harvesting, cultivation and assortment of food and feed products derived from land cultivation and live animals (including products obtained prior to the process of their slaughter), as well as from bees, including fish and hard-roe, hunted wild animals and collected wild plants;
- Production refers to cleaning, slaughtering (including butchering), cutting up, jointing, slicing, refining, grinding, skinning, plucking, cooling and freezing of primary production products before processing stage, or process consisting of their combination, and subsequent weighing and wrapping up, packaging, labelling, as well as the storage and transportation of food and feed products through production process;
- Processing refers to heating, drying, cooking, smoking, marinating, extraction, and compression of primary production products and products derived from production, or any process consisting of their combination, as well as the preparation of food and feed products for processing, their subsequent weighing and wrapping up, packaging, labelling, storage and transportation of food and feed products in the processing premises
- Turnover refers to storage, transportation, import and export, supply, sale by wholesale and retail facilities, barter, transfer in any form (for commercial or non-commercial purposes) as well as consumption of food products;
- Utilization refers to technological processing of food and feed products non-compliant with existing legislative requirements in the field of food safety for other than the initially intended use thereof or use for other purposes;
- Materials contacting with food products refer to materials and articles (including tare and packaging materials) that are used at the stages of primary production, manufacturing, processing, circulation and utilization of food products, and are directly in contact with food products.
Who and what is considered as food chain operator and facility? Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan on “Food Safety” acknowledges individuals or legal entities, municipalities, public agencies (institutions) involved in food chain activities as operators; and spaces, areas, premises, means of transportation or other module-type (mobile) facilities that are used for food chain activities as facilities.
Which state authority performs the registration?
The answer to this question can be found in the Decree No. 1681 of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan dated 13 November 2017. Thus, Food Safety Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan (hereinafter referred to as “Agency”) functions as an executive authority engaged in registration of food chain facilities (operators), as well as facilities producing and processing materials and products being direct contact with food products. Registration of food chain facilities and operators can be carried out either in electronic form by logging into the Food Safety Automated Information System (https://eafsa.gov.az
) via digital signature “Asan imza”, or by applying in person or through representatives to “ASAN service” centers No. 5, 6 and 7, as well as regional "ASAN service" centers (except of Ganja regional center No. 1 and Sumgait regional center No. 1) and Export Support Center «Unified Window».
Which documents are a must for the registration? List of the required documents is defined by Resolution No. 303 of the Cabinet of Ministers of Republic of Azerbaijan on “Approval of Rules of registration and maintenance of register of entities functioning in the field of food products” dated 16 July 2018. Thus, following documents shall be submitted:
- filled and signed/ stamped by the authorized representative application-questionnaire “On registration of entities engaged in activities in the field of food production”;
- if food chain operator is a natural person - copies of the identity card and the tax registration certificate; if operator is a legal entity - copies of extract from the register of legal entities and tax registration certificate; if application is made by representatives - copies of their identity cards and documents displaying their credentials;
- notarized copies of rental contract or of the extract from the real estate register displaying ownership and usage
How long does it take for registration to be completed? Registration of food chain facilities and operators is carried out within 7 working days. In case if fixable deficiencies are detected in the application or in the documents attached thereto, the Agency shall, within 5 working days upon registration of the application, notify the applicant of the necessity to rectify such deficiencies or send a registered letter notifying about all deficiencies and explaining the legal consequences of failure to comply with formalities. The applicant must rectify the deficiencies within 10 working days upon receiving of the notification. At this point, duration of the registration period is being suspended, and the suspension period shall not be included in the registration period. In the event of failure by the applicant to rectify deficiencies within 10 working days, the Agency shall issue an administrative act on leaving the application without examination and notify or send a registered letter within 2 working days upon adoption of the decision.
Is there any registration fee? According to Article 1 of the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan No. 415 “On Amendments to the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On State Duties”” dated 03 December 2021 the payment requirement related to the registration of entities engaged in activities in the food industry was abolished. Thus, today food chain facilities and operators can be registered at no charge.
Which document validates the registration?
Following the adoption of the decision on registration food chain facilities and operators are included in the Food Safety Register (hereinafter - the Register) and are issued an extract from the Register. The information included in the Register is published on the official website of the Agency and is publicly available (Information on the Register can be found via following link: https://e-afsa.gov.az/E_GovRegistration/filter