10th EFFL Conference – “COOL and Company – The Beginning of the End of the Common Market?”

I am on the move to Berlin this morning, to attend the really interesting on Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) event above mentioned. Thank you to Lexxion for inviting me.

Since the EU Commission, in 2015, decided to not impose mandatory indication of origin beside the ones today in place by horizontal legislation (e.g. Reg. (EU) 1169/2011) and by sectoral legislation (e.g. meat, honey, fish…) many Member States today are proposing national legislation’s act imposing some sort of obligation in terms of COOL: this is particularly true for the milk sector, which is sparkling much debate after France and Italian initiatives.

Which legal justifications stand behind those national drafts? Are they legitimate? If not, which legal instruments we have to fight back the fragmentation of the single market? Is the single market at risk?

Those are the questions we will try to answer and you can expect my take on the event on these pages in the near future.

On the second day of the conference, 9th December 2016, I will have a speech titled:

Drafts on National COOL Regulations
Ireland, Italy (mandatory on milk and dairy products), Portugal (mandatory on milk and dairy products), Poland (voluntary claim “Produkt polski”) Lithuania, Finland, Greece, Romania

and I will participate in a discussion panel on:

Mandatory COOL– Legitimate Consumer Information or a Step towards Protectionism?

together with:

  • Hillary ROSS, Litigation, Regulatory – DWF LLP
  • Andreas MEISTERERNST, Meisterernst Rechtsanwälte, Munich
  • Peter LOOSEN, German Federation for Food Law and Food Science e.V., Brussels

Many other excellent speakers will be there, so this could be a wonderful place to discuss such a complex topic in a 2 days immersive event.

  • Martin HOLLE, Professor of Food Law and Administrative Law, Hamburg University
    of Applied Sciences, Hamburg
  • Dirk JACOBS, Director of Consumer Information, Diet and Health, Food Drink
    Europe, Brussels
  • Paolo PATRUNO, Deputy Secretary General, Liaison Centre for the Meat Processing
    Industry in the European Union (CLITRAVI)
  • Sarah ARAYESS, Hoogenrad & Haak Advocaten, Amsterdam

Here you can see the full program.

The EFFL Conference is an established annual event organized under the auspices of the European Food and Feed Law Review. It is tailored to the needs and interests of those who are daily exposed to European food law & policy and leadership in the food law practice, and I will be very glad to participate.

If you will be there too, drop a note on foodlawlatest@gmail.com and we will discuss further in front of a cup of coffee!

WTO, US and EU meat COOL labelling – QeA to the EU Commission

Question for written answer to the Commission – Ricardo Serrão Santos (S&D) – 17.09.2015

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) recently ruled in favour of Canada and Mexico in their dispute against the United States in relation to rules concerning origin labelling for meat.

The indication of the origin of meat applied in the US, on which the dispute centred, is mandatory for meat coming from animals born, reared and slaughtered in the country. The WTO ruled that this practice discriminated against meat imports from other countries, and retaliatory measures are now possible.

An indication of origin is important for producers and consumers alike and can offer significant added value.

What guarantees can the Commission give that this type of dispute will not affect agricultural exports from the European Union, where origin labelling applies?

Answer given by Mr Hogan on behalf of the Commission – 03.11.2015

The WTO dispute outcome did not state that all origin labelling for meat is against WTO rules. Instead it found that the practical application of the US system was discriminatory as it accorded less favourable treatment to imported livestock than to like domestic livestock, in particular due to disproportionate record keeping and verification requirements for producers and processors of imported livestock.

The EU country of origin labelling system for meat differs from the US system and in particular treats meat originating in the EU and in other countries in a similar way.

As for meat exports from the EU, these are naturally subject to the labelling rules of the importing country. The WTO dispute underlines that those rules must be non-discriminatory. This can only be of benefit to EU exports as they should therefore not be disadvantaged compared to local production.

(Source: European Parliament website)