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Legal 500: Tier 1 Food & Beverages | Retail | Insurance

The food and consumer products market is one of the most regulated markets. At the same time, the sector is facing a number of major changes. Coping with these changes requires both thorough knowledge of the relevant legislation and adaptive thinking in order to arrive at the right solution. And that combination characterises our multidisciplinary Benelux team.

Nowadays every company in the food and consumer products industry needs to ensure the safety of the product in its own way. Unfortunately, European and national food and consumer product legislation is a jungle.

We often see, the General Food Safety Regulation and the Product Safety Directive being familiar, but there are dozens of specific implementing regulations and directives that have been complexly integrated and implemented into national legislation. And the jungle is big: European and national food legislation also applies to all foodstuffs, such as energy drinks, bread and chewing gum, but also edible grasshoppers, 3D printing materials and materials that come into contact with foodstuffs such as straws and bottles. The same applies to European and national consumer product legislation: almost everything that consumers buy or use is covered, e.g. furniture, electronics and fireworks, but also central heating boilers and toys. All these products must comply with strict safety requirements. In addition, there are also specific quality regulations. For example, something may only be called 'organic' if the production process complies with the strict European and national statutory regulations.

Non-compliance with safety and quality requirements may result in consumer complaints, mandatory notifications to governments and insurers, claims or even recalls - with, of course, major consequences for business operations, reputation and the brand.

If we add to this the major changes that the sector is facing: the impact of Brexit on importers and exporters, the changed supply and demand chain, and technological influences such as 3D printing and drone delivery, then the jungle is complete.

Our multidisciplinary Benelux team – with lawyers specialising in food and product law, administrative law, criminal law, liability law and contract law – can help you to keep sight of the wood without the trees getting in the way. This combination of expertise, our many years of experience and adaptive thinking enable us to quickly define a strategy that addresses all facets of an incident.

What else does NautaDutilh have to offer in this respect?

  • Advising on product compliance with European and national food and product legislation, in particular on innovative technology and novel foods, but also when it comes to advertising, designations, labelling, as well as health and other claims.
  • Information about registrations, approvals, certificates and CE markings.
  • Preparation for, and assistance during, inspections and dawn raids by regulatory authorities. 
  • Legal assistance in legal procedures dealing with measures imposed, penalties, prosecution and claims.
  • Advice on insurance cover and trading loss.
  • Assistance with claims from/against suppliers, customers, insurers and consumers.
  • Review of general (transport and delivery) conditions and contracts.
  • Assistance in appointing and arranging authorised representatives.
  • Multidisciplinary recall team with an effective international network.
  • Providing courses and training.

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