WHAT IS FOOD LAW?
Food law is the branch of legislation that regards the production, distribution and administering of foodstuff. Food legislation includes the laws that regard the formulation of products, the laws that regard all types of communication with the consumer (labelling, presentation and advertising of foodstuffs), and the rules regarding hygiene and food safety.
ITALIAN AND EUROPEAN FOOD LAW
Italian and European food law are constantly evolving and remaining updated requires a daily review of both the Italian and European Official Journals. Moreover, Italian and European food legislation are strictly intertwined and frequently overlap, making the interpretation of the laws particularly complicated.
TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE REQUIRED TO UNDERSTAND FOOD LAW
The constant study of food law is essential, but insufficient. Understanding of food legislation and food related issues requires the knowledge of subjects that have nothing to do with law (all basic foodstuff production tecniques, general foodstuff chemistry and microbiology, the knowledge regarding the most common types of food related frauds, etc.).
INTERPRETATION OF FOOD LAW
To the complexity of the laws and the need of the stated knowledge, one must add the variability of the interpretation of food law.
Italian national supervisory bodies often interpret legislation in accordance to bulletins that are published by the Ministry they depend form (Health, Agriculture, Industry etc.).
These bulletins offer interpretations of that are not necessarily always in line with the laws themselves. In spite of the fact that these bulletins are not laws, one must know and consider them, for they are the ones that are applied by the supervisors when challenging products, labels, etc,. Any legal assessment meant to avoid challenges has to consider these too.
FOOD LAW JURISPRUDENCE
The last variable that must be considered is the one given by established jurisprudence. Food law is therefore an extremely complex subject.
SANCTIONS FOR FOOD LAW INFRINGEMENTS
In spite of the effort to uniform food legislation inside the European Union, each country has different sanctioning systems for food related problems.
In Italy, since food is such an important part of the national culture, all food related issues are taken quite seriously. Some breaches of the law are punished with regulatory sanctions, whereas other violations are punished as crimes.
Production, distribution and administering of foodstuff can set forth a wide variety of problems. The most common ones regard foodstuff composition (for example, the use of forbidden food additives); the challenges of all types of communication with the consumer (labelling, presentation and advertising); and the challenges that arise due to food sampling, chemical or microbiological analysis, and other types of controls put forth by the Authorities.
STUDIO LEGALE CORTE's 100 YEARS IN FOOD LAW
Studio Legale Corte is one of the few food law firms in Italy which offers legal assistance regarding food law in court.
Studio Legale Corte represents defendants accused of food related crimes in criminal law suits, and challenges regulatory sanctions on behalf of its clients. The expertise gained with the judicial activity allows Studio Legale Corte's lawyers to offer sound legal advice.
Assessments by our firm are based not only on the evolution of food law, but also on the interpretation of the laws given by authorities inflicting the sanctions, and on the defendability of each claim in light of the established jurisprudence. This knowledge enables Studio Legale Corte to help the clients avoid challenges, long before avoiding convictions.