Due to the continuous expansion of the market for the production and distribution of food, especially at a transnational level, food law is strongly influenced by EU regulations, which constantly cooperate with the responsible National Authorities.
The principles that underlie the discipline are obviously of prevention and safeguards of free trade.
One of the first EU sources was Regulation Nr. 178/2002, which identifies the principles and general requirements of the regulation on food, founding the European Food Authority and also establishing the procedures concerning food safety, in order to protect the health of consumers.
In this respect, the Food Law Act provides for protection against any form of food adulteration, fraudulent and deceptive practices and, in general, any other conduct that may mislead the public.
Labelling has also been the subject of several pieces of legislation, from Regulation 1924/2006 to the most recent Regulation 1169/2011.
The latter, “on the provision of food information to consumers“, has replaced and repealed the previous legislation.
This is an attempt to ensure transparency and protection for consumers, but also for the interests of producers.
The regulation also gives us a definition of a label in Article. 2, paragraph 2 (letter. I), “any trademark or trademark, sign, image or other graphic representation written, printed, stamped, marked, embossed or imprinted on the packaging or container of a food or accompanying that packaging or container.”
Similarly, the next letter of the same article defines labelling as any “mention, indication, trademark, image or symbol referring to a food and appearing on any packaging, document, notice, label, tape or band accompanying or referring to that food”.
A list of mandatory information is provided for in Article 9 of the Food Law Regulation, and Article 12 precisely identifies the place on the packaging where that information must be placed.
A reference is also made to Regulation nr. 852/2004, which concerns activities that involve the whole food production chain.
This regulation lays down the rules relating to the Hygiene and Health aspects of the food sector, at all stages of production, processing, packaging, distribution, storage and sale.
On the domestic front, we can find art. 62 of Legislative Decree no. 1/2012, later converted into Law no. 27/2012, which regulates the contractual aspects of the sale of food products.
This rule is particularly interesting for its paragraph 2, where five practices are described that are prohibited as unfair, including the imposition of conditions unjustifiably burdensome, different conditions for equivalent services and achieve undue unilateral performance.
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