354 inspeccionaron el primer semestre del 2022 para garantizar el cumplimiento de la Ley de la Cadena Alimentaria
The Law 16/2021 aims to alleviate existing imbalances in bargaining power between suppliers and buyers of agricultural and food products. These imbalances that have been accentuated in recent years, and that are currently becoming more latent with the rise in raw materials and inputs, generate a significant imbalance of rights and obligations to one of the parties, which is usually the producer. p>
This law is intended to guarantee the balance of the Spanish food chain. The standard takes into account the main vulnerabilities of the sector: the dispersion of the operators in the chain, the rigidity and austerity of the demand, the seasonality in the market and the heterogeneity of its internal characteristics.
Once the deficiencies were identified, a series of changes were introduced by European mandate, such as the inclusion of a list of unfair commercial practices prohibited in relations between buyers and suppliers of the supply chain agri-food supply, the establishment of rules to ensure the effectiveness of said prohibitions, modifications to the contracting regime, as well as the construction of the expected sanctioning mechanisms and certain procedural improvements at the level of efficiency, legal certainty and confidentiality.
Since May 1, 2022, the date of entry into force, the catalog of abusive and unfair commercial practices (the so-called gray and black practices) has increased, including new violations.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, after the work carried out by AICA O.A., has imposed a total of 95 sanctions in this first stage. Most of these sanctions have fallen on the fruit, vegetable and wine sectors, as stated in the report presented on June 30 by the Food Information and Control Agency.
AICA’s work is carried out both ex officio, as well as investigating complaints filed by parties for possible breaches of the norm. In addition, the director of AICA has the power to impose sanctions as long as the total amount of the proposed sanction does not exceed 100,000 euros.
During the first half of 2022, a total of 354 ex officio inspection procedures have been carried out, supervising commercial relations between the inspected subjects and their suppliers and/or customers . A total of 697 legal deals between various operators in the food chain have been analyzed.
Since AICA was launched in 2013, there have been 3,149 sanctions imposed by the Ministry for breaches of the Food Chain Law, with a total amount of nothing more and nothing less than 13,665.606 euros.
Almost half of the sanctions imposed during the first half of 2022 are due to breaches of payment terms, most of them being committed by industry and wholesale trade
In view of the results contained in the report, most of its inspection work has focused on ensuring the existence of contracts signed between the parties, compliance with the deadlines, and on abusive commercial practices.
The work to be carried out by the Food Information and Control Agency ensures balanced, fair and transparent trade relations at all stages of the food chain. In the moments in which the food sector is currently, the correct application of the new Food Chain Law is one of the hopes that the agricultural sector has to alleviate the current situation of increased production costs.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food is processing a Royal Decree in which the Registry of Food Contracts is developed, where all contracts that exceed 1000 euros must be registered, as well as contractual modifications.
We will have to wait until the end of the year to assess making an adjusted evaluation of AICA’s work, taking into account that there are many files still not accounted for in the investigation phase in which there are still a resolution has not been handed down.
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