Company names can be made public where food is unfit for human consumption but not injurious to health, EU Court rules


The Court of Justice of the EU ("CJEU") has recently ruled that EU law allows national authorities to provide the public with information identifying a food business operator ("FBO") whose food is unfit for human consumption even though it is not injurious to human health (Case C-636/11 Karl Berger v Freistaat Bayern).

Regulation 178/2002 provides that food shall be deemed to be unsafe if it is considered to be: (a) injurious to health; or (b) unfit for human consumption.

Further, the said rules provide that public authorities must inform the general public of the nature of any general risk to health where there are reasonable grounds to suspect that food may present such a risk and depending on the nature, seriousness and extent of that risk. German legislation provided that the competent authority could inform the public of the name of the food and the name or trade name of the FBO where the relevant food was not injurious to health but was unfit for human consumption.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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