Fairness in the food supply chain: Member States to apply EU rules banning unfair trading practices

Member States have until tomorrow, 1 May 2021, to transpose EU rules banning unfair trading practices into national law. The Directive, adopted on 17 April 2019, ensures protection of 100% of European farmers as well as small and mid-range suppliers against 16 unfair trading practices from larger buyers in the food supply chain. It covers agricultural and food products traded in the supply chain, banning for the first time at EU level such practices imposed unilaterally by one trading partner on another. The unfair trading practices to be banned include, among others, late payments and last minute order cancellations for perishable food products; unilateral or retroactive changes to contracts; or forcing the supplier to pay for wasted products and refusing written contracts. Farmers and small and medium sized suppliers, and their organisations, will have the possibility to file complaints against such practices from their buyers. Member States should put in place designated national authorities that will handle the complaints. Confidentiality is protected under these rules to avoid any retaliation from buyers. This Directive contributes to strengthening the farmers’ position in the food supply chain. The Commission has also taken steps to increase market transparency and promote producer cooperation in this context. Together these will ensure a more balanced, fair and efficient supply chain in the agri-food sector. By November 2021, the Commission will present a first report on the transposition and implementation of the Directive by Member States.  The national transposition measures communicated by the Member States are available here. More information available here