Produrre e nutrirsi "bio" : analisi comparata del diritto degli alimenti biologici = Producing and eating "bio" : a comparative analysis of the law of organic food

Maffei, Stephanie (2013) Produrre e nutrirsi "bio" : analisi comparata del diritto degli alimenti biologici = Producing and eating "bio" : a comparative analysis of the law of organic food. The Trento Law and Technology Research Group. Student Paper Series; 17 . Trento : Università degli Studi di Trento. ISBN 978-88-8443-516-3

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    The European Union and the United States represent the world’s largest markets for organic food. Despite the need for harmonization of organic standards, the legal systems of the largest food market of the world have accomplished a merely relative disciplinary convergence on organic food production and consumption. Retracing the most important steps of the organic phenomenon, which was born as a philosophical movement and as a reaction to the industrialization of agricultural production between the two world wars, this paper analyzes the concept of "organic farming" as an agricultural production method which requires farmers to follow certain rules and limit the use of pesticides and other chemicals. Following a general exposure of the legal frameworks in both areas, created during the 90s in order to respond to public concerns about the intensification of livestock production and several food scandals –, the first chapter of the paper analyzes the value of consumer’s trust in the accuracy and truthfulness of organic labeled products, considering that they represent typical credence goods, where consumers lack the possibility to check by themselves the “quality” attached to the food that they have chosen in the market, and if the manufacturer has complied with the rules expressing this quality. As a matter of fact, the quality of organic food is only guaranteed through proper labelling and the certification of the production process or the final product by third-party organizations. The second chapter evaluates the regulations both in the US and in the European model, paying particular attention to import and export regimes in both areas. As regards the U.S. area, traditionally inspired by a very confident approach towards technology, the paper provides a comprehensive exposure of the standards of the National Organic Program and their implementation. In the European Union context, the paper explores the provisions of Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 of 28 June 2007, whose compliance enables any food producer to qualify products as "organic". The third chapter considers the implementation of the European regulation by the Italian legislative decree no. 220/1995, which confers the control over actors in the organic sector to private bodies, authorized for this purpose by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, the Italian authority responsible for the coordination of technical and administrative activities related to the application of the EU regulation. For that purpose, the Ministry collaborates with the Italian autonomous regions and provinces, which have taken a leading role in the national organic sector (even anticipating the European Community’s legal initiative of the 90s). Their most significant contributions to the field, like for instance the encouragement of local farmers and the explicit regulation of the coexistence between organic, non-organic and GM crops, will be discussed in further detail, as well as the rules envisaging an alternative agricultural method called “integrated agriculture”. In the last chapter, the paper analyzes whether and what kind of responsibility may arise from the violation of legislation on organic food, considering the possible venues of redress for consumers willing to vindicate the misbranding of organic food against not only the producers but also the intermediaries of the supply chain. In this view a powerful tool is certainly represented by the remodeled class action, as contained within art. 140-bis of the Italian Consumers’ Code. This instrument is inspired by the US class action, whose essential characteristics will be compared with its (often uncertain) application upon the different Italian regulatory environment. Finally, the paper considers the new widespread responsibility in the food supply chain based on food labeling and more generally on any information attached to food placed into the market, which has been introduced by the Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011.

    Item Type: Book as author
    Department or Research center: Faculty of Law
    Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Comparative Law, Food Law, Organic Farming, Consumer, Us Law, Food Quality, Certification
    Repository staff approval on: 03 Dec 2013 12:07

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