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PUBLICATIONS, Structural and Cohesion Policies

Unfair trading practices in the food supply chain [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Patrick Kelly (2nd edition, updated on 6.5.2019),

Greenhouse nursery for the cultivation of salad and other vegatable

© Goodpics / Fotolia

The food supply chain ensures that food and drink products are delivered to the public. It affects all consumers in the EU. The final price paid by the consumer is impacted by the number of participants in the food supply chain. While the single market has brought benefits to operators in the supply chain through more market opportunities and a larger customer base, it has also brought challenges. Structural changes have occurred, leading to different levels of bargaining power and imbalances between actors in the chain. The abuse of such differences may lead to unfair trading practices.

To strengthen the position of smaller operators (farmers) in the food supply chain, in April 2018 the European Commission proposed a new directive on unfair trading practices. Trilogue discussions began in October 2018 after a successful vote in plenary. The final agreed text was adopted by both Parliament and Council at first reading, and signed on 17 April. Member States must now incorporate its provisions into national law, and apply them by 1 November 2021.


Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on unfair trading practices in business-to-business relationships in the food supply chain.
Committee responsible:


Shadow rapporteurs: 







Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI)

Paolo de Castro (S&D, Italy)

Mairead McGuinness (EPP, Ireland),

Anthea McIntyre (ECR, UK),

Elsi Katainen (ALDE, Finland),

Matt Carthy (GUE/NGL, Ireland),

Maria Heubuch (Greens/EFA, Germany),

Marco Zullo (EFDD, Italy),

Jacques Colombier, (ENF, France).

COM(2018) 173 from 12.4.2018.


Ordinary legislative procedure (COD) (Parliament and Council on equal footing – formerly ‘co-decision’)

Procedure completed. Directive (EU) 2019/633

OJ L 111, 25.4.2019, pp. 59–72.


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