The Spanish Registry of Food Contracts has become fully operative on 30 June 2023, which means that, as of that date, operators are obliged to register all food contracts concluded with primary producers, as well as their amendments.
In more detail
The Spanish Registry of Food Contracts was created by Law 16/2021, of 14 December, which amended Law 12/2013, of August 2, on measures to improve the functioning of the food chain (“Food Chain Law“); and formally implemented by Royal Decree 1028/2022, of 20 December implementing the Registry of Food Contracts (“Royal Decree 1028/2022“).
According to said regulations, all food contracts and their amendments, as well as any annexes and supplementary information (insofar they form a necessary and integral part of the food contract because they refer to its minimum contents) must be registered in the Spanish Registry of Food Contracts as of 30 June 2023.
The party obliged to register them is the purchasing operator before the delivery of the contracted product/s. In particular, Royal Decree 1028/2022 identifies the following operators:
(a) buyers who purchase agricultural and food products from primary products and groups thereof and who are required to formalize a food contract;
(b) first purchasers of raw milk; and
(c) the integrator, when the food contract is an integration contract.
The obligation to register contracts is applicable when the operators of the commercial relationship are established in Spain or when a contract is subject to Spanish law and one of the operators is established in Spain and the other in other EU Member State.
As regards to contracts with primary producers formalized before 30 June 2023, it will only be compulsory to register their annexes, supplementary information, and amendments produced after 30 June 2023.
Lack of compliance with this obligation may entail the imposition of economic fines of up to EUR 3,000 (or the equivalent of the benefit obtained by the offender, this amount is higher) the first time. Repeating the offence (or any other minor infringement of the Food Chain Law) within a period of two years, will be considered a serious infringement and can be sanctioned with economic fines of up to EUR 100,000 (or the equivalent of the benefit obtained by the offender, this amount is higher). Penalties applied to serious infringements will be published by the competent authorities on a quarterly basis, jointly with the name of the offender and the offence committed.
In view of the above, it is important to review the contracts with primary producers and their groups to confirm whether they are subject to this registration obligation.