OREANDA-NEWS. On 12 January 2009 was announced, that Belarusian producers of juices and juice-containing beverages will have to change to new standards starting January 1, 2009, a source in the State Standards Committee told Prime-Tass.

Seven new juice standards were introduced on September 1, 2008, including new requirements to the name of products, technologies, water treatment, packaging, etc.

Since not all producers were ready to apply new standards immediately, Belarus elaborated a plan to introduce new requirements on July 1, 2009. Each producer had a separate transition plan.

But in November 2008, it was decided to change to the new set of standards on January 1.

According to the source in the Standards Committee, “domestic markers have been warned well in advance.”

According to a representative with a maker of juice-containing beverages, domestic companies will suffer losses in early 2009, as they will be unable to introduce new technologies, packaging, etc.

“Of course we knew about the new standards, but we are not ready to launch them on January 1, 2009. We need new equipment now, but we only plan to have it installed in March 2009. We also need to sell what we produced in late 2008, besides, the tetra-pak cartons we bought before in large volumes do not meet new info standards,” he said.

The initiative to introduce new requirements earlier was aimed to improve quality management, but local producers and, consequently, local budgets, will be short of proceeds and tax transfers, a market expert told Prime-Tass.

“Some producers will be forced to suspend production, while many makers will be able to adapt fast and offer their juices soon enough,” he said.

Juice sales rose 16.2% on the year in January-November 2008 to 254.1 million equivalent jars. Belarusian-made juices accounted for 49.7% of the total, up 5 percentage points from January-November 2007.