Sanctions reg. EU 1169/11, competent authorities and procedures

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Theanalysis of the Sanctions Decree related to EU Regulation 1169/11 approved on 11.12.17 by the Council of Ministers concludes with an examination of competent authorities and procedures.

TITLE IV – Final Provisions

Mutual recognition (Article 25). The national provisions supplementing reg. EU 1169/11 do not apply to food products legally manufactured or marketed in an other EU and EFTA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland) member states and Turkey. (1)

Competent authorities (Article 26). The Department of the Central Inspectorate for Quality Protection and Fraud Repression of Agri-Food Products (ICQRF) of the Ministry of Agricultural Food and Forestry Policy (MiPAAF) is designated as the competent authority to impose the administrative fines stipulated in the decree.
However, the government has backtracked from the ill-advised assumption-which had previously been aired-of excluding the powers of other authorities. (2)

Thus, the health authority maintains a https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/etichette/controlli-il-ruolo-dellamministrazione-sanitaria/ in controls and sanctions, as called for by many parties and reiterated most recently in EU Regulation 2017/625.

Procedures (Article 27). The detection of violations and the imposition of administrative penalties follow the criteria established in Law 689/81. (3)
In the case of a first-time finding against an operator of only ‘curable’ violations – in relation to which only an administrative fine is provided – the authority is required to use a prior warning. (4)
There is also the possibility of a 30 percent reduction in the administrative fine, if it is paid within five days after being challenged or notified. (5)
Microenterprises (6) are eligible for administrative penalty reductions of up to half.
Supplies to ‘nonprofit organizations, for subsequent free transfer to needy persons’ are exempt from the penalties in the decree, with the exception of those related to the expiration date and the indication of allergens.
Finally, penalties are not applicable if foods placed on the market are accompanied by ‘appropriate written rectification of information that does not comply with the provisions of this decree’. (7)

Transitional period (Article 28). ‘Foods placed on the market or labeled prior to the effective date of this decree in contravention of this decree may be marketed until stocks are exhausted.’

Legislative Decree. 109/81, partial repeal (Article 30). The fateful ‘labeling decree,’ which has already undergone numerous updates during its 36 years of honored service, is finally repealed. Except for its only rule that introduced arequirement to mention on the label the location of the production or packagingplant for products made in Italy, as recently updated. (8)

Entry into force (Article 31). The ‘Sanctions Decree’ will come into effect within 60 days after its publication in the Official Gazette.

Dario Dongo

Notes

(1) A style clause, however, devoid of practical application, since the rules in Title III of the decree pertain to:

– batch code, subject to harmonized rules (dir. 91/2011/EU),

– vending machines and collectivities, which are inevitably subject to the provisions of the decree since they are located in Italy,

– Basic information in B2B supplies that must in all cases be recorded for traceability purposes under reg. EC 178/02, Article 18
(2) MiPAAF also had to give up the ‘picks’ it had tried to secure in the previous version of the decree. In fact, its Article 6.3 stipulated that 50 percent of the proceeds of sanctions would be reallocated 35 percent to Mi.P.A.A.F. and 15 percent to Health, ‘for the improvement of the efficiency and effectiveness of the control and supervisory activities of the aforementioned ministries’

(3) See Law 689/81, so-called decriminalization law. The Sanctions Decree specifically refers to its Chapter I (administrative sanctions), Sections I (general principles) and II (enforcement)

(4) See Law 114/2016, Article 1, Paragraph 3. ‘In the case of violations of agribusiness regulations, for which only the application of the administrative fine is provided for, the inspection body in charge, if it first ascertains the existence of violations that can be remedied, shall warn the person concerned to comply with the violated requirements within a period of twenty days from the date of receipt of the warning notice and to eliminate the harmful or dangerous consequences of the administrative offense. Sanctionable violations are defined as formal errors and omissions that involve a mere regularization operation or violations whose harmful or dangerous consequences can be eliminated. In the event of failure to comply with the requirements contained in the notice referred to in this paragraph within the specified time limit, the inspection body shall proceed to make the objection, pursuant to Article 14 of Law No. 14 of November 24, 1981. 689. In this case, the application of Article 16 of the aforementioned Law No. 689 of 1981‘,

(5) See Law 116/2014, Article 1, Paragraph 4. ‘For violations of agribusiness regulations for which only the administrative fine is applicable, if reduced payment has already been allowed, the sum, determined in accordance with Article 16, Paragraph 1 of the aforementioned Law No. 689 of 1981, shall be reduced by thirty percent if the payment is made within five days after being notified or served

(6) Establishments with fewer than 10 employees and annual turnover or budget of less than 2 million euros qualify as microenterprises

(7) That is, in cases of timely re-labeling of products, or correction of signs or registers in cases of bulk and pre-wrapped food sales as well as serving

(8) Cf. d.lgs. 145/2017, effective 5.4.18. Failure to indicate the location of the establishment on products made in Italy, pursuant to the aforementioned decree, is subject to an administrative fine of 2,000 to 15,000 euros