Entrepreneurs are faced with a growing amount of legislation on the marketing of products. These laws cover both safety aspects and the provision of accurate and transparent information to consumers. A large portion of these rules and regulations are imposed at European level, in an effort to prevent trade barriers. Entrepreneurs must be able to sell the products they offer on the Dutch market in any other European country with equal ease.
Marco Balhuizen, commodities law specialist: ‘Effective advice on commodities law issues requires a practical perspective. In addition to looking good on paper, our advice has to be effective in the day-to-day practice.'
The food market is one of the most regulated markets in the EU. Social interests, such as the right to high-quality and safe food and the right to honest information on foodstuffs, have prompted the need for government regulation. These regulations extend to areas such as food labelling and the traceability of foodstuffs. At the same time, the market is also characterised by free and fierce competition, with the onus of responsibility largely on the companies operating in the sector. Recent cases of food fraud in which food safety was jeopardised underline the importance of a reliable supply chain. Food industry operators must be able to demonstrate that they have put mechanisms in place to ensure the safety of all foodstuffs provided by their suppliers. Navigating these interests requires a thorough knowledge of both food technology and legislation. Legal interpretations are just as important as knowledge of the markets and technologies involved. Interaction between food industry operators and lawyers is thus crucial.
Naturally, the importance of safety extends beyond food products. Non-food items must also be regulated in order to prevent any harm to consumers. The provision of accurate and honest information is also crucial in this regard. Amongst other measures, government regulation has resulted in the introduction of CE marking legislation. CE markings serve to establish that a product meets all applicable legal requirements. As an entrepreneur, they offer you certain rights – such as free trade within the EU – and create obligations for which you may be held accountable by both supervisory authorities and competitors.