Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
2Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
EU Food Labelling and the Consumer; A Fractured Relationship

EU Food Labelling and the Consumer; A Fractured Relationship

Ratings: (0)|Views: 31|Likes:
An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Eoin Shiel. Originally submitted for Law , with lecturer Caoimhin Mac Maolain in the category of Law
An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Eoin Shiel. Originally submitted for Law , with lecturer Caoimhin Mac Maolain in the category of Law

More info:

Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Aug 30, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
See more
See less

01/05/2015

 
EU Food Labelling and the Consumer; A Fractured RelationshipAbstract
The BSE crisis of the 1990s can be viewed as the catalyst for a dramatic reorientationof EU food policy. What was once a laissez-faire body of rules that gave precedenceto ease of production before any human health concerns has now given way to perhaps the most exhaustively regulated food law regime in the world. Thecornerstone of this new approach is the protection of the end-use consumer. In thisregard, the issue of food labelling, that most direct method of communication between producer and consumer, has been subject to a plethora of legislation and pronouncements from the relevant European authorities.This essay charts the historical development of the law in this area, from thedirectives first provoked by the BSE crisis, to the interpretation of the ECJ of theimplications of these regulatory initiatives, through to the treatment of modern dayfood law concerns. The prevailing theme of the paper is the failure of EU law to practically address the concerns and challenges of the everyday consumer, a by- product of the safety first regime that is now prevalent in this area. The result is tocreate an environment in which consumers are overburdened, overestimated, andultimately, underprotected.
Introduction
Food safety is an issue that has caused considerable controversy in recent times,arising from a number of high-profile health threats to consumers. These crises haveexposed glaring shortcoming in regulatory procedure, and suggest that the structure of law in the European Union
1
favours practices which devalue the quality of food. As aresult, the need to protect the consumer has emerged as a primary focus in theformulation of food policy, yet this remains something that EU law fails to practicallyaddress. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the area of food labelling. Labelling is the mostdirect method of communication between the producer and consumer. For the producer, it affords an invaluable marketing tool, in which it can convince the
1
Hereinafter referred to as
The EU 
.
1
 
consumer why its product is superior to all others. For consumers, by contrast, it is anopportunity to inform themselves as to the quality and safety of the product, beforemaking a decision to purchase it. But clearly, there is a tension between these twoaims. This gives rise to a number of pertinent questions; do consumers trust thelabels? Do they understand the information given to them? Do they believemanufacturers’ health claims?To resolve these concerns, the EU introduced a series of comprehensive legislativeinitiatives, placing specific labelling requirements on producers. Indeed, the statedaim of the founding instrument in this area, Directive 1979/112, was to inform and protect the consumer.
2
 In theory, this augured well for the conscientious consumer. Inlight of such a demanding body of rules, it would surely be difficult for theunscrupulous producer to fool the consumer into purchasing a product withundesirable and unintended substances. In practice, however, serious shortcomingshave emerged. These flaws relate to the enduring disconnect between actual buyer  behaviour, and the precise requirements of the regulatory framework.The aim of this essay is to identify and evaluate the deficiencies in protectingconsumers through the use of food labelling. I believe the most cogent analysis can be provided in appraising the predominant legislative provision in this area, theFramework Food Labelling Directive.
3
 Thereafter, I will examine the real effects of this legislation, through the media of labelling language and ingredient listings.Finally, I will briefly assess the new proposals made by the EU to redesign thisstructure of governance, and whether this will invigorate a regime that has heretoforefailed to legitimately protect and inform the consumer.
2
See the Preamble to Council Directive 1979/112/EEC Council Directive 1979/112/EEC of 18December 1978, on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the labelling, presentation, and advertising of foodstuffs, for sale to the ultimate consumer, [1979] OJ L 33/1.
3
 
 Ibid 
, and as amended by Directive 2000/13/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20March 2000 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the labelling, presentation, and advertising of foodstuffs. To ensure the most effective analysis, Directive 1990/496and Directive 2003/89 will remain outside the scope of this article.
2
 
The Food Labelling Legislation of the European Union- Encouraging First Steps
The original food labelling legislation produced by the EU was Directive 1979/112.
4
It was believed that harmonising rules was the best way to minimise concerns on foodtrade through member states. The effect of the Directive was to establish a list of specific labelling requirements which must appear on every food intended for sale tothe ultimate consumer.Indeed, one notes the real force of the legislation in the wide definition attached to theterm ‘labelling’, which encompasses every document accompanying or referring tothe relevant foodstuff.
5
Moreover, the legislation directed a strong warning to the producer; no labelling could mislead the consumer about any characteristics of thefoodstuff.
6
This framework was later replaced by Directive 2000/13,
7
which bolstered the oldregime by introducing additional labelling requirements. The new features further strengthened the position of the consumer; details relating to ingredients quantities, perishable dates, and alcoholic strength must now be attached.
8
The new Directive also displayed advertence to another key concern in this area-actually conveying the information to the consumer, once it has been attached. In thisregard, the new legislation was most promising. Compulsory labels must be easilyvisible and legible, and should not be hidden or obscured in any way.
9
From these provisions, one can discern a clear desire to place the consumer in the best possible position to make an informed decision on the quality, and by extension, safety, of a product.This regulatory framework has received generally positive interpretation by theEuropean courts. In
Smanor 
, it was held that labelling includes any information that is
4
Council Directive 1979/112/EEC of 18 December 1978, on the approximation of the laws of theMember States relating to the labelling, presentation, and advertising of foodstuffs, for sale to theultimate consumer, OJ L 33/1.
5
Article 1(3).
6
Article 2(1).
7
Directive 2000/13/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 March 2000 on theapproximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the labelling, presentation, and advertisingof foodstuffs, OJ L 109/29.
8
Article 3(1).
9
Article 13(2).
3

Activity (2)

You've already reviewed this. Edit your review.
1 thousand reads
1 hundred reads

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->