On April 3rd, 2015, the government of Georgia adopted the Technical Regulation on Milk and Dairy Products that was enacted on August 1st, 2015. The technical regulation aims “to determine unified principles for regulating production, processing, and distribution of milk and dairy products as well as the protection of customers’ rights”. It provides definitions of the terms “milk and dairy products”. The main objects of the regulation are raw milk and cream, drinking milk and cream, lactic acid products, butter, cheese, and cheese products, and byproducts of milk (products obtained while processing dairy products).
As of July 1st, 2017, according to the changes in the regulation, the use of milk powder in cheese production is prohibited. Butter has been regulated as well. Based on this regulation, it is unacceptable to use the word “butter” on the label including the name of a business operator when a product contains vegetable or any type of fat other than milk fat. In case of violating these rules, the business operator will receive a fine in the amount of GEL 400 for the first violation; if the same business operator commits a violation again within a year, the fine will increase to GEL 1200. The reason behind adopting this technical regulation was the fact that the milk and dairy products available on the Georgian market did not correspond to the food label, which proved to be misleading for customers. Thus, the main goal of the regulation and its amendments is to protect customers’ interests.
The goal of this research is to determine how the implementation of the technical regulation is taking place and what difficulties have arisen in the process. The information presented in this paper is based on statistical data, interviews conducted with experts, individual farmers, cooperatives, representatives of the private sector, government, non-governmental organizations, and associations, and the results of an online customer survey.