“Food fraud and criminal liability of companies can food companies be criminally responsible for their activities?”

About This Project

On May 8, a conference given by Ms. Silvia Bañares, lawyer specialized in food law and coordinated with Mr. Luís González Vaqué, responsible for Triptolemos in the area of Foodtoech, took place within the framework of FoodTech 2018 in Barcelona. Agrifood Policies.

Under the title of the conference: “Food fraud and criminal liability of companies, can food companies be criminally responsible for their activities?” The ideas of food fraud and criminal liability of food companies were essentially analyzed.

The notion of food fraud is part of the reality of consumers following recent scandals produced within the European market such as horse meat fraud, which caused numerous meat products or ingredients of meat origin to include in their Horse meat composition labeled (improperly) as beef or beef.

Until then, the European Union had endowed itself with agile control and surveillance systems in cases where there could be risks to public health, such as the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF). However, an ad hoc system was lacking for those cases in which some type of fraud had been detected that initially did not pose health risks. With this objective, the European Union has recently implemented a knowledge center to enhance food quality and the fight against food fraud, which will now coordinate market surveillance activities and will have an information and alert system early, connecting the information systems of the Member States and the Commission.

Although the notion of “food fraud” is an old known Spanish regulatory system (our criminal code for example is one of the best adapted to current reality), the truth is that there is no consensus definition at community level; From the works that have been carried out to date, it seems to be deduced that requirements such as the violation of community norms, the intentionality of food operators, the existence of an economic benefit, or the presence of a consumer deception will end up being part member of the definition that is finally approved.

On the other hand and in terms of criminal responsibility, the rapporteur said that the Spanish system allows the food companies to be held criminally responsible since 2010 (year in which Organic Law 5/2010 of June 22 was approved. ) The responsibility attributed to this rule can be tempered in a certain way, if food operators voluntarily adopt crime prevention models and comply with them properly (by virtue of the provisions of Organic Law 1/2015 of March 30, a standard that has It has been nuanced by a recent circular from the State Prosecutor’s Office (circular 1/2016), which is why it concluded by advising that food companies be duly advised on these extremes.

Triptolemos Foundation for agri-food development since 2002 collaborates in the optimization and articulation of the functioning of the food system, so that it results in greater availability and quality of food, in trust and dignification, in an environment of global sustainability, in the conviction that there cannot be a sustainable and socially balanced development if, at the base, the global food system does not maintain the balance between its actors.