FOOD LAW

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STUDIO LEGALE CORTE

Studio Legale Corte is one of the few law firms in Italy that assists food business operators even in court, defending defendants who are challenged with food crimes and challenging the regulatory sanctions imposed by supervisory bodies.

The judicial activity allows the lawyers of the Firm to offer  consulting services that take into account the evolution of legislation, but also considers the interpretations of the supervisory bodies and of the  jurisprudence.  Studio Legale Corte's legal advice is therefore designed to avoid disputes.    

 

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WHAT IS FOOD LAW?

Food law is that branch of law that regulates the production, distribution and administration of food and beverages.  It includes the rules concerning the formulation of products, the laws governing all forms of communication with the consumer (labeling, presentation and advertising of food and beverages), and the rules concerning hygiene  and food safety .  

 

THE SOURCES OF FOOD LAW

Food law in Italy derives from both national and EU legislation.  The overlap between national and European legislation, both in constant evolution, makes keeping up to speed particularly challenging.  The differences between the two make a correct interpretation quite difficult.  

THE TECHNICAL SKILLS NECESSARY TO UNDERSTAND FOOD LAW

The constant study of the law and the continuous regulatory updating are not  sufficient.  Understanding food law and the problems that may arise in relation to food and beverages requires knowledge of matters that have nothing to do with the law.  These are: the basic notions of food production techniques, a basis of food chemistry and microbiology, knowledge of the main food frauds, etc.  

INTERPRETATIONS OF FOOD LAW BY SUPERVISORY BODIES  

The complexity of the law,  and knowledge required in other matters, one must add the variability of the interpretations of the food law. In Italy, the Ministries to which the supervisory bodies refer issue circular interpretative letters, which are not always in line with the legislation.  Although they are not necessarily legally binding, the circular letters are important because they often determine the interpretations of the law that are applied by the supervisory bodies, who are the authorities that make the challenges and/or issue sanctions.  

LAW IN FOOD LAW

To the variability of the interpretations of the supervisory bodies, one must then add the variable of the jurisprudential orientations, which must be taken into account in making the legal assessments.  

Food law is therefore an extremely complex matter.  

SANCTIONS FOR VIOLATIONS OF FOOD LAW

Even in the presence of EU regulations, each country of the EU has a different system of sanctions for food law infringements.  

In Italy, food-related issues are treated seriously and severely punished.  Less serious offenses are punished with regulatory sanctions, while more serious violations of food law constitute crimes.  

The production, distribution and administration of food and beverages can pose various problems.  The most common are the disputes that relate to the composition of foods (for example, the use of unauthorized additives); disputes relating to information provided to consumers (through labeling, presentation or  advertising); disputes that arise as a result of sampling, chemical or microbiological analysis, and other challenges determined by  supervisory bodies.

 

Read the Forbes interview with Avv. Paola Corte on food law, by clicking here: