Following the vote in the plenary session of the European Parliament on 12th March, Phil Hogan, EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, said: “Today's vote is fundamentally about fairness for farmers in the food supply chain. The Commission tabled this proposal to ensure that farmers are treated fairly by parties throughout the food supply chain, and to provide this minimum protection across the EU. This law is one of the key proposals of the Agricultural Markets Taskforce. Today's vote demonstrates our ability to deliver for EU citizens.” 

The new European law builds on a proposal tabled by the European Commission and will cover agricultural and food products traded in the food supply chain, banning for the first time up to 16 unfair trading practices imposed unilaterally by one trading partner on another.

The new legislation will apply to anyone involved in the food supply chain with a maximum turnover of €350 million with differentiated levels of protection provided below that threshold. The new rules will cover retailers, food processors, wholesalers, cooperatives or producers' organisations, or a single producer who would be engaging in any of the identified unfair trade practices.

The new framework grants Member States the authority to enforce the new rules and impose sanctions in case of infringements. The Commission will also set up a coordination mechanism between enforcement authorities to enable the exchange of best practices.

The unfair trading practices that will be banned include: late payments for perishable food products; last minute order cancellations; unilateral or retroactive changes to contracts; forcing the supplier to pay for wasted products and refusing written contracts.

Other practices will only be permitted if subject to a clear and unambiguous upfront agreement between the parties.

Member States are now expected to formally endorse the new rules before they can enter into force. The final vote is expected by June at the latest and we will keep you updated.

For more information please contact Francesca Poggiali at francesca.poggiali@gs1.org