Food Law News - EU - 1999

29 April 1999: PRODUCT LIABILITY - Liability for defective products - Extension to primary agricultural products

Council Minutes, 29 April 1999

Liability for defective products - Extension to primary agricultural products

Extract from the minutes of the Internal Market Council Meeting:

The Council unanimously adopted the Directive extending the producer's liability without fault for defective products to primary agricultural products and game, which were not included in the scope of the original Directive 85/374/EEC.

The Directive seeks to achieve a two-fold objective: increase consumer protection, as mentioned in the Luxembourg European Council's declaration on food safety; and strengthen the internal market by removing distortions of competition, while maintaining the balance between consumers' and producers' interests, and by increasing legal certainty.

The previous Directive on product liability introduced a system of liability without fault by which producers are liable for the damage caused by a defect in their product; the victim must simply provide evidence of the existence of the damage, the defect and the casual relationship between defect and damage.

Until now, the previous Directive has not covered primary agricultural products and game. Some Member States however, in transposing the previous Directive, have also included such products in the scope of their national legislation.

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