What is the «Honest Mark» product labeling, why is it needed and how to work with it correctly?

July 9, 2024

The work of marking an «Honest sign»

Product labeling is the process of applying a unique digital code. First, manufacturers, entrepreneurs, importers, businessmen request on the official website of the “Honest Sign” to receive a secure code that will guarantee the authenticity and quality of the goods. The operator generates it, assigns an accounting product number and transmits it to the participants.

  1. When releasing products that are put into circulation, the code is applied to cardboard, wooden, plastic containers or directly on the product. The first part of the digital code contains information about the product itself, the second part is designed to track its movement.
  2. The goods from the warehouse production premises are accompanied by an UPD – a universal transfer document, which contains data on the assigned codes. The document is sent according to the electronic turnover program.
  3. Information about the codes is transmitted to the following links in the logistics chain – distributors, wholesalers, suppliers, store directors. They verify the codes with the transfer documents, verify the presence of an electronic signature and put the products up for sale.
  4. Information about the movement of the product is automatically displayed in the information database until it is sold.
  5. The buyer scans the digital code using the smartphone application and makes sure of its legal origin.
  6. From the moment of sale, the product code is removed from the database, ceases to exist and is no longer used. Online sales registers transmit information about the withdrawal of the product from circulation, the operators send them to the system.

The product also goes out of circulation due to the end of the sales period, upon detection of a defect, loss of a copy or use for its own purposes.

Why do I need labeling?

In the «Honest sign» information system, labeling is introduced gradually and consistently, but it concerns all participants in the commodity turnover. The control program generates DataMatrix codes, it was developed and implemented by the Center for the Development of Advanced Technologies. Monitoring is aimed at improving the safety of customers, eliminating counterfeit goods and low-quality counterfeit analogues, to control the originality of products.
The marking informs about the name of the manufacturer’s company, the place and date of production of the product, records its route from the factory to the store and the stage of its sale in real time. The process of applying an encrypted code is interconnected with electronic turnover, and this simplifies the registration and acceptance of a batch of products, allows you to get all the information about the origin of a particular product. Labeling benefits all participants in trade relations:

  • manufacturers will be able to track the location of the product and reduce unwanted costs, use the opportunity to increase production and reduce cost;
  • sellers will gain confidence in trading high-quality legal goods and increase customer confidence;
  • when scanning the code, consumers will find out all the information about the products, make sure that they comply with the stated description and there is no deception.

Labeling of goods in Russia began in 2016, and 2 years later, rules were approved at the government level for both domestic manufacturers and importers.

Marking codes

The goods are marked with a two-dimensional Data Matrix barcode, which is individually assigned to each unit of production. The label is made in the form of a square with a side size from a minimum of 10 to a maximum of 144 mm, or a rectangle with dimensions from 8×18 to 16×48 mm. The image consists of clearly visible black and white square pixels forming an even number of columns and rows, as well as a combination of different numbers.
Information encrypted with unique information contains up to 2 kilobytes of data, including the type, color, composition, size, date of manufacture, shelf life, time and place of production of the goods, the way of its movement between the participants in the turnover.
The security technology guarantees security and the impossibility of forgery. The digital combination begins to form after the product is registered in the Honest Sign system. The sequence of characters includes the main groups:

  • a combination of 14 digits displaying the identification code assigned to the product, received by the manufacturer in the catalog, begins with the digit 01 and ends with a combination of digits 21;
  • a 13-character code encrypting the individual serial number of the product unit assigned by the operator;
  • 4 digits perform a verification function and provide copy protection.

The printed code in the form of a typographic label or sticker is applied directly to the product or label, hard or soft packaging, glued to a box, a blister with medicines. With the help of the code, it becomes possible to track the time of production of goods in Russia or import from another state, the legality of the goods is checked. When scanning a fake or corrupted code, the system issues a warning, which should be reported to the tax service, the consumer protection department or other regulatory authorities.

Goods subject to mandatory labeling

All participants in the trade chain are required to sell only labeled goods included in the list approved by the Government of the Russian Federation.
Since 2016, barcodes have been used on fur coats and fur products, since 2019 – on tobacco and nicotine products, since 2020 – on jewelry, cameras, tires for cars. Since 2021, textile products and the entire range of dairy products have been labeled, in 2022 bottled water and strong alcoholic beverages began to be labeled.
From 2024, mandatory labeling will be applied to the following types and groups of goods:

  • beer and low-alcohol beverages in polymer, glass packaging and tin can;
  • plant-based soft drinks, juices, fruit drinks;
  • caviar of sturgeon and salmon fish;
  • bicycles and frames for them, wheelchairs;
  • medical devices – hearing aids, coronary stents, computed tomographs, sanitary and hygienic supplies, orthopedic shoes, air purifiers and bactericidal installations;
  • biologically active additives and antiseptics;
  • technical means of rehabilitation of patients – canes and crutches, anti-bedsore mattresses and pillows, elements of prostheses;
  • titanium products – ingots, forgings, sheets, rods, plates, slabs;
  • cosmetics and household chemicals;
  • fiber optic cables and optical fibers;
  • sockets, photosensitive conductors, lighting devices and other electronic products;
  • products for children – scooters, toy cars and electric racing cars, dolls, board games;
  • animal feed, veterinary drugs and vaccines;
  • vegetable oils of various types.

The process of selling labeled goods is becoming more complicated due to an increase in the number of documents, additional costs for the purchase and printing of codes, the purchase of equipment and the maintenance of EDI. But thanks to labeling, the market is freed from low-quality products, competition is reduced and there are more opportunities to sell legal goods. In addition, the state receives economic benefits from the liquidation of clandestine enterprises offering counterfeit goods to customers and increased tax deductions from law-abiding manufacturers.

Marking of residues and marking periods

Goods manufactured before the introduction of labeling, but not out of trade, are considered leftovers. To sell them, employees of retail stores, manufacturers’ warehouses or wholesalers must label the goods themselves and simultaneously put them into circulation so as not to miss deadlines.
In 2024, individual deadlines and stages for the introduction of labeling have been established for entrepreneurs engaged in trade, import and production of goods.
By April 1, new groups of light industry goods should already be marked, and information on the introduction into trade turnover must be submitted by September 1.
From June 1, customs officers are prohibited from releasing goods imported into the Russian Federation before the end of March, and from July 1, the turnover of unmarked residues is prohibited, but their storage and transportation are allowed until that date.
By September 30, all participants in the trade turnover are required to label the product residues, submit information about them and order codes, and their introduction into circulation is available until October 31.
Imported goods purchased before March 31, but imported within the next 2 months, participants in the trade chain must mark them by August 31.


For the absence of labeling on goods that are subject to it without fail, a fine is imposed on participants, including for the purchase of products for the purpose of marketing. The fine for officials ranges from 5 to 10 thousand rubles, for legal entities – from 50 to 300 thousand. For violating the rules of labeling tobacco products, the fine is even higher: 30 – 50 thousand rubles for officials and 300 – 500 thousand rubles for legal entities.
For particularly large violations, on which monitoring in the Honest Sign system depends – forgery or absence of codes, their poor readability or repeated application, a fine of up to 1 million rubles with confiscation of problematic goods and even imprisonment is threatened. The punishment applies to producers, farms, importers, distributors, retail stores and catering outlets.
The list of products is updated annually. It is assumed that by 2025-2026– all categories of goods will be labeled.

Assistance in marking an «Honest sign»

For entrepreneurs and other legal entities wishing to save time on labeling, the specialists of the logistics company «Mile Logistics» will help to understand all the intricacies of the process and mark the goods. For suppliers of goods participating in the state system of marking and tracing «Honest Mark», we offer the service of labeling goods that we transport or store in our warehouses with stickers «Honest Mark». We will print and apply a security code to containers of any size. You only need to register on the official website of Honest Sign and provide information to the company’s specialists.

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