FOOD MANUFACTURER LIABILITY AND THE CONSUMER’S RESPONSIBILITY IN THE ITALIAN LEGAL SYSTEM

  • Carolina Magli Alma mater studiorum (Università di Bologna)

Resumen

Since the beginning of this century, European Community lawmakers, aware of the risks associated with food consumption, have been increasingly tightening the rules under public law aimed at offering consumers preventive protection to ensure the health and safety of food products.

The question that the interpreter poses, then, is that of ascertaining whether, and to what degree, a connection exists between public law concerning food safety - aimed at offering consumers preventive protection against damage to human health - and the provisions governing private torts law. First, it is a matter of establishing when the rules of diligence standardized in the horizontal and vertical legislation can be relevant for identifying the operator’s fault (Art. 2043 of the Civil Code), and whether – in the context of the regulations on manufacturer liability laid down in the Consumer Code  – food legislation can also guide the interpreter in determining when a product is to be considered safe  (Art. 114 of the Consumer Code).

Moreover,  is necessary to ascertain whether strengthening the technical standards (especially those aimed at informing consumers as to the characteristics of the foods they consume) has also resulted in expanding the responsibility of consumers who nowadays are more aware of the risks associated with the foods they consume than they were in the past. This investigation takes on particular importance following the introduction of the recent regulation governing food labelling, the goal of which is to make consumers increasingly better-informed as to the composition, origin, and nutritional properties of the foods they use; in fact, EC lawmakers, aware of the growing attention given to food products, which are considered potential risk factors for human health, and to nutrition, have on the one hand required companies to supply more accurate information on the food products placed on the market, while on the other hand developing information projects on proper nutrition, to encourage consumers to opt for more carefully considered food/nutritional choices. In other words, given the ever-closer linkage between certain lifestyles and the occurrence of certain diseases (for example, one may consider how obesity and excess weight are factors that have a decisive impact on an individual’s health, or how nutrition can influence the occurrence of certain types of tumours), it is a matter of ascertaining whether consumers of food products, who are increasingly aware of the characteristics of the products they are using, bear a duty to adopt a healthy lifestyle, or whether the entire liability for the damage caused by the consumption of foods potentially hazardous to one’s health must continue to be borne by the manufacturer.

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Publicado
01-04-2016
Cómo citar
Magli, C. (2016). FOOD MANUFACTURER LIABILITY AND THE CONSUMER’S RESPONSIBILITY IN THE ITALIAN LEGAL SYSTEM. Anales De Derecho, 34(1). Recuperado a partir de https://revistas.um.es/analesderecho/article/view/238311
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Doctrina