The statutory instrument which sets out the regulations to give effect in Irish law to the EU Directive on unfair trading practices (UTPs) in the agricultural and food supply chain has been signed by Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue.
The regulations will be known as the 2021 European Union (Unfair Trading Practices in the Agricultural and Food Supply Chain) Regulations 2021 and will come into effect from 1 July 2021.
There are 16 UTPs included in the regulations, 10 of which are prohibited in all circumstances and six which are prohibited unless the parties agree clearly and in an unambiguous manner beforehand.
Even playing field
New supply agreements must be in compliance with the requirements of the regulations by 1 July 2021.
Contracts that were concluded before today 28 April must be brought into line within 12 months. The regulations do not apply to agreements between suppliers and consumers.
Minister McConalogue said: “One of the key principles of the UTP directive is to protect farmers, farmers’ organisations and other weaker suppliers of agricultural and food products against stronger buyers.
“These regulations will help to provide that protection and are a significant step in progressing towards a more even playing field for our agricultural producers.”
The regulation follows the launch of a public consultation on a National Food Ombudsman and which requires primary legislation.
I am committed to delivering an office that will bring much-needed transparency to our sector
“The authority will have the necessary statutory powers to investigate complaints, carry out investigations on its own initiative and initiate legal proceedings for breaches of the UTPs prohibited under the directive,” Minister McConalogue continued.
“I am committed to delivering an office that will bring much-needed transparency to our sector that will ultimately help our farmers and primary producers.”
The regulations can be found here.
The new UTP Enforcement Authority can be contacted at UTP@agriculture.gov.ie.