Sanctions decree reg. EU 1169/11, the text

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The sanctions decree-which is designed to punish the violation of consumer information rules on food products (EU Reg. 1169/11)-is finally under consideration by the Council of Ministers.

Early news as it turns out is not reassuring, as food safety and the role of the health administration seem to have given way to the expansionist aims of the Ministry of Agriculture. This is followed by the analysis of the text under discussion.

Scope. EU Regulation 1169/11, Food Information Regulation, provides general information rules to be applied on all foods. Be they sold in bulk, pre-wrapped or pre-packed, or subject to administration. The directive requiring the identification of individual lots or batches or deliveries of products is added. (1)

Fair information practices. Violation of the general precepts of truthfulness – and thus, demonstrability – and clarity, non-misleading of information (2) is punishable by administrative penalty of 3 thousand to 24 thousand euros.‘Unless the act constitutes a crime‘. (3)

Distributor’s responsibility. When even the food is sold under the brand name of the Osa (Food Business Operator), who is thus primarily responsible for it, the distributor is liable for:

– trade in products whose labels are presumed to be non-compliant, penalty from €500 to 4,000,

– modification of the information accompanying the food received from the supplier, (4) penalty from 2 thousand to 16 thousand euros.

Omission of mandatory information. The responsible operator (5) is subject to penalties from €5,000 to €40,000 for failure to report allergenic ingredients. (6) Whoever omits any other information provided for as mandatory shall be liable for a penalty of 3 thousand to 24,000 euros.

Readability. Labels with smaller-than-prescribed or otherwise illegible wording carry a penalty in the amount of 1 to 8,000 euros.

Distance selling. Failure to comply with the duty to provide the consumer with all the information stipulated as mandatory on the label before the choice of purchase (7)-in any case of distance selling, including e-commerce-is punishable by a penalty of €2,000-16,000.

Specific labeling violations are subject to specific penalties:

name of the food, from 500 to 16 thousand euros depending on the case,

allergenic ingredients, 2-16,000 €,

net quantity and QUID(Quantity of Ingredients Declaration), 1-8 thousand euros,

– minimum shelf life (€1,000-8,000), date of freezing or deep-freezing food of animal origin (€2,000-16,000). Displaying the product for sale after the expiration date (€5,000-40,000),

– Country of origin and place of origin, 500 to 16 thousand euros depending on the case

– alcoholic strength, 500 to 4,000,

nutrition declaration, from 2,000 to 16,000 euros.

In the following article, some mention of the additional measures proposed for the implementation of EU Regulation 1169/11 in Italy.

Dario Dongo

Notes

(1) Dir. 91/2011/EU

(2) Reg. EU 1169/11, Article 7

(3) Refers specifically to the crime of trade fraud, Article 515 Penal Code

(4) See reg. EU 1169/11, Article 8.4

(5) That is, the owner of the trademark under which the product is marketed

(6) Penalty not applicable in the case of a food safety crisis properly managed, prior to the authorities’ intervention, under reg. EC 178/02, Article 19

(7) Outside of only the news associated with the individual sales unit, such as durability and batch. Cf. reg. EU 1169/11, art. 14

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.