Top ten 2018 articles and Foodlawlatest.com achievements

Dear readers,

At the end of 2018, foodlawlatest.com ranked 2nd in the category Niche and Specialty niche_and_specialty_-_2nd_place_badgeLaw Blog in the blog contest launched by the Expert Institute.

Thank you for all your support and for your votes.

After 5 years of activity is time to give you some numbers.

This year we proudly served more than 100 clients, on 3 continents (EU, North America, Asia) and we gathered readers from more than 160 countries.

Our LinkedIn group, with much more info and updates, is now including more than 4.000 food professionals and we launched with success our first massive online webinar (on FDA labeling).

Just as we speak we are gathering subscriptions for the next webinar’s wave and soon there will be much more: guest speakers from around the world will introduce you to food law in the major markets (a hint: the 1st one will be on the upcoming new Chinese labeling legislation…). From fall 2018 I am as well guest instructor for online courses of the Michigan State University Institute for Food Laws and Regulations.

Now we are a team of 5 here in Torino’s office and we cover more than 60 markets through local partners and contractors. In 2019 we would like to scale up, refresh the website and publish more frequently, launch a YouTube channel and bring to the surface the huge network and the different skills that we might put on the plate when it comes to offer you a strategic advice in marketing food. Two major publications on food labeling (in English) are as well in the pipeline.

Between our major partners, I’d like already to quote (and thank for the great support and exchange of knowledge):

  • MoniQa: MoniQA is an international and interdisciplinary network of professionals from institutions working in food research, regulatory bodies and trade, providing solutions to promote a safer and secure food supply worldwide. The main focus of the association is on food allergen management and food fraud prevention and I sit in the Scientific Advisory Committee;
  • Arcadia International: Arcadia is a multi-disciplinary consultancy dedicated to the food and feed value chain and is also recognized as expert by several European Commission Directorate-Generals for agriculture and food related activities. In particular a mention goes to my great friend Francesco Montanari, food lawyer in Lisbon/Paris;
  • ShantallaJohn G. Keogh: Shantalla provides retainer-based advisory services and project-based research for clients in the public and private sectors globally, on topics like:
    • Strategy & Policy Advisory
    • Supply Chain Integrity incl. Traceability and Brand Protection
    • Product and Consumer Safety incl. Recall
    • Supply Chain Transparency & Consumer Trust
    • Sustainability, Compliance & Governance
    • Industry Standards (GS1)
    • Technology Advisory incl. IoT & Blockchain Use Cases

Coming back to our blog, the most read articles in 2018 – in case you missed them – were the following:

  1. EFSA – Consumer perceptions of emerging risks in the food chain
  2. Food fraud update at EU level and Interpol/Europol Opson VII operation preliminary findings
  3. Vietnam – New Criminal Code provides stricter sanctions for food safety violations
  4. QeA EU Parliament – EU Commission to EU Parliament on Meat Sounding
  5. QeA EU Commission to EU Parliament – Allergens declaration on non pre-packed food
  6. EU Audit in Belgium on organic production and labeling – Are we still surprised of “organic frauds”?
  7. EU Study on Food Waste and Date Marking published
  8. FDA finalizes the extension of the compliance dates for new Nutrition Facts
  9. Food Law in Asia and Food Law in US Conference (Rome 16-17th April 2018)
  10. Hard times for industrial trans fats: EU upcoming legal limit and FDA moves

Please let us know what we can do more or better and thank you for your continuous support!

Cesare

Products’ safety self declaration in Vietnam?

Decree No 15, effective since 2 February, 2018, will permit organisations and individuals producing and selling food to self-declare food-product origins and quality, replacing the long-standing method of keeping records at public management agencies and ask for authorizations.

According to local businesses, in the past, to apply for the certificate, an enterprise must prepare two sets of documents and each set had 11 different kinds of papers.

According to a survey of the Central Institute for Economic Management announced recently said that to apply for a food safety hygiene certificate, each enterprise must pay about VN$10 million (US$440), and VN$30 million (US$1,300) in some cases.

(Source: Vietnam Net, Vietnam Plus)

I am totally against the meaningless bureaucracy and very well aware of the global trend of shifting responsibilities to the food business operators and enhancing private-public cooperation control models: this is the future, since the competent authorities won’t have the means and the budgets to check everything. The number of checks to perform is too high and the type of controls too wide.

But, in a country where the food safety average level is still one of the worst worldwide (see one of the thousands of articles regarding the topic: link) maybe this is a too bald move: Vietnam, according to the above mentioned trend, is also strengthening the criminal and administrative sanctions for food safety violations and reviewing the existing food legislation, to protect domestic consumers and meet the strictest requirements of some importing countries (like the EU block itself).

My doubt is that in an environment still not characterized by a solid business culture, this decision would be a step back on this road.