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© Martin Kieffer - Attorney
Kieffer Legal Services
Law Firm
Rochusstraße 217, 53123 Bonn
NRW / Germany

Tel.: +49 228 18060951
Fax: +49 228 18060952


Animal welfare labelling

Currenty, there is only one EU-wide system of compulsory labelling on animal welfare - for table eggs. The system for eggs is based on the EU legislation for laying hens defining different production methods (cages, free range, barn, etc.). Such classification of production methods does not exist for other types of animal production in the EU.

The European Commission  does not plan to extend animal welfare labelling beyond eggs-

Instead, the strategy is oriented towards considering the development of an instrument to better inform consumers and companies on animal welfare friendly products that could be used by both producers and retailers, ensuring a transparency to consumers without overflowing them with information on the label. So the approach goes more to a voluntary labelling scheme.

If you like more information, please click the text.

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GMO free dairy products

sLidl, the German discount supermarket, has been selling its own brand fresh milk as "GMO free" since July 2016 using the labelling scheme approved by the German government. Since August two GMO free cheeses have been also made available under its private label.

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Imports of organic foods into the EU

By Regulation (EC) No. 2016/1330 the European Commission updated Regulation (EC) 1235/2008 setting out the lists of countries whose system of products and control measures of organic products of agricultural products are recognised as equivalent to those laid down in Regulation (EC) No. 834/2007.

Regualation No. 2016/1330 entered into force on 22 August 2016.


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The specific provisions relating to conditions of approval of the following active substance under the Plant protection products Regulation (EC) No. 1107/2009 have been updated as per Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/1313 of 1 August 2016.


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When is advertising considered "self-evident" and "flagrantly misleading?

Food companies sometimes use claims with the aim to demonstrate that their foods are special compared to others of the same catregory.

Control bodies often argue that thesee claims are self-evident and thus misleading. But is this really so?. If you wish further information please click here.

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Offer Manipulations on Sales Web Portals

On 2 August 2016 the German Federal Supreme Court (BGH) published two rulings, that if someone lists products on web portals such as Amazon, he is considered liable for contents provided by third parties (AZ I ZR 110/15 and AZ I ZR 140/14).

The situation is that web portals such as Amazon  permit e-tailers who list their articles to make use of the descriptions and pictures of those who listed them first if the product has already been published on the platform. Generally, this is an advantage for all following e-tailers who want to save the effort. At the same time for instance Amazon makes it possible to provide a quick supply for comprehensive offers made by many e-tailers.

If you wish more inforamtion, please click here.

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German Printing Ink Regulation

On July 5, 2016 Germany notified the European Commission (EC) of the Twenty-First Regulation amending the Consumer Goods Regulation.

For more information please click here.


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Health Claims Regulations applies to B2B

On 14 July 2016  European Court of Justice  ruled

Article 1(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods, as amended by Commission Regulation (EU) No 1047/2012 of 8 November 2012, must be interpreted as meaning that nutrition or health claims made in a commercial communication on a food which is intended to be delivered as such to the final consumer, if that communication is addressed not to the final consumer, but exclusively to health professionals, falls within the scope of that regulation.

For further information please click here.

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The Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf halts takeover of Tengelmann by EDEKA

On 12 July 2016 the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf  nullified a decision of the Germans economy ministry to allow the country's biggest supermarket group Edeka to buy grocery store chain Kaiser's, owned by retail group Tengelmann.

Germany's economy ministry had granted special permission for the merger on the condition that no jobs were lost, but the higher regional court of Duesseldorf said the decision was void as protecting workers was not equivalent to the public interest.

If you wish more inforamtion, please click this text.

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Contaminants: when is a food considered unsafe?

According to article 14 (2) of Regulation (EU) 178/2002 food shall be deemed to be unsafe if it considered to be

(a) injurious to health;

(b) unfit for human consumption.

Article 14 (2) (a) of Re. 178/2002 applies, if  foods do not comply with the  maximum levels provided for contaminants as laied down in Regulation 1881/2006.

Article 14 (2) (b) Regulation 178/2002 applies, if a food is not considered injurious to health but regarded inacceptable for human consumption, for instance for reasons of contamination, whether by extraneous matter or otherwise, or through putrefaction, deterioration or decay.

Although foods do not have any toxicoligical effects some German control bodies are tending to apply article 14 (2) (b)of Regulation  178/2002 if products contain much higher comtaminant levels than other products of the same category.

If you wish more information please click this text.


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Report from the European Commission on food intended for sportpeople

On 15 June 2016  the European Commission published its report on food intended for sportspeople.

In sum the Commission came to the conclusion  that there is no necessity for specific provisions for food intended for sportspeople. The horizontal rules of food law provide the necessary safeguards for these products in terms of food safety, food composition, consumer information and legal certainty

Nevertheless, sports food may include some element of specificity and the analysis in this report shows that this may have to be taken into account by the Commission in the application and implementation of the horizontal rules, so that such specificities can be adequately addressed. The Commission will ensure proper application of horizontal legislation and monitor the developments after 20 July 2016.

If you wish more informatiion  please click this text.

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Terms and Conditions of Sale and Delivery

Many companies do not use terms and conditions of sale and delivery. This bears risks. Such terms can be publsihed on the company´s website, but they only become integral part of the contract between the supplier and purchaser, if there is a clear refernce to them in the commerical correspondence.

Which items should be covered?

If you are interested in more information please click this text.



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Labelling of Vegan and Vegetarian Foods Replacing Meat and Milk Derived Products

Vegan and vegetarian products are becoming more and more popular. For that reason we drafted a short checking list how to label them in order to avoid conflicts.

If you like more information, please click this text.

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Deceptive Packagings: Legal Situation

According to a ruling of the Higher Regional Court of Hamburg deceptive packagings can be misleading as they give consumers a false impression regarding their actual contents (Az: 3 U 207 15).

If you like more information, please click this text.

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Germany: Organic Soy Milk may not contain Lithothamnium

On 19 May 2016 the Higher Administrative Court of North-Rhine Westphalia ruled that soy milk may not contain powdered lithothamnium. Natural soy milk contains much less calcium per liter than cow milk. Therefore, often commercial soy milks are fortified with extra calcium. The court was of the opinion that the use of powdered lithothamnium was not in line with the the regulations governing the production of organic foods.

If you like more information, please click this text.

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Pesticide Residues and Maximum Residue Levels

Commission Regulation (EU) 2016/71 of Janaury 2016  lays down residue levels for for 1-methylcyclopropene, flonicamid, flutriafol, indolylacetic acid, indolylbutyric acid, pethoxamid, pirimicarb, prothioconazole and teflubenzuron in or on certain products.

By a correndum to the above regulation published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 26 April 2016 these levels have been partially amended.

For more information please click this text.

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Imports of Gelatine, Collagen and Others from Third Countries into the EU

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/759  of 28 April 2016  lays down lists of third countries, parts of third countries and territories from which Member States are to authorise the introduction into the Union of certain food of animal origin intended for human consumption. The regulation also lays down certificates requirements.

For more information please click this text.

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European Parliament: Mandatory Origin Labelling for Milk and Meat Products

On 12 May 2016 the European Parliament (EP) voted in favour of mandatory origin labelling for meat and milk products. The EP urgred the European Commission to come up with legislative proposals to make labelling of origin mandatory for processed meat and all kind of drinking milk and dairy products.

If you like more information, in particular whether  such proposals are likely to come, please click the text. 

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Clean labelling within the limits of the law

Food companies turn more to clean labelling. Kieffer Legal Services worked out a report on the legal limits of clean labelling. For more information, please click  here to read the full report.


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Conditions of use regarding the terms "vegan" and "vegetarian"

On 22 April 2016 the German ministries for consumer protection agreed on the definitions of the terms "vegan" and "vegetarian".

For more information please click this text.

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European General Court has upheld bans on glucose health claims

The European General Court decided on health claims such as "glucose contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism" or "glucose contributes to normal muscle function". Although the claims werde deemed scientifically sound by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) the European Commission banned the claims after controversial discussions among EU member states. The European General Court has upheld the ban and argued similar to the European Commission. The Court was of the opinion that according to generally accepted principles of nutrition and health the average consumer must reduce its consumption of sugar. The court argued that health claims  highlighting only the benefical effects of glucose are ambiguous and misleading.

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Does the Health Claims Regulation apply to B2B?

On 18 Febrauary 2016 the advocate general of the European Court of Justice recommended that article 1(2) of Re. 1924/2006 be interpreted to nutrition and health claims on foods intended to be delivered as such to the final consumer , which are made in commerecial communications, when they are intended exclusively for professional but with the goal to reach consumers indirectly through them.

The decision of the ECJ  is still outstandig. However, the conclusions of the advocate general are likely to form the basis of the judge`s ruling, which will be expected in the following months.

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Kieffer Legal Services assists the 100 Canteen Program of North Rhine-Westphalia

Kieffer Legal Services gave three presentations that set the legal framework of the 100 Canteen Program of North Rhine-Westphalia. The project aims to increase the access to local food in canteens of North Rhine Westphalia. It provides a platform connecting suppliers of local food and buyers and contains a policy framework dedicated to enyoing more local food in canteens.

The presentation can be viewed by clicking the following link:


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Nutrition Labelling from 13 December 2016 - Exemptions

From 13 December 2016, it will be mandatory to provide nutrition information on the majority of foods prepacked and offerd for sale, irrespective of whether a nutrition and/or health claim has been made or vitamins and/or minerals have been added to the product. Special rules apply to food supplements and mineral water. They are insofar exempted from the Regualation (EU) 1169/2011:

Foodstuffs exempted from the mandatory nutrition declaration are listed in Annex V of Regualtion (EU) 1169/2011.

We like to draw your attention to these facts as food companies are just adjusting their labels to these new requirements. In this context small companies often ask as to whether nutrition labelling applies to them as well.


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Revised German Guidelines for Meat and Meat Products have been published

On 23 December 2015 the German Ministry for Food and Agriculture published new guidelines for meat and meat products.
The Geman "Lebensmittelbuch" is a set of guideleines describing the production, quality and further characteristics of food. They do not have the effect of law and  are designated to interprete the latter by reflecting  German consumer expectations. 


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