KWG Rechtsanwälte –Law Firm for Food and Consumer Goods

Our team advises and represents at ist offices in Gummersbach and Brussels trade and industry in all legal matters that arise with regard to the production and the marketing of food and other consumer goods.

In the aforementioned areas of law, we are among the most widely recognised and respected leading offices and as such constitute the largest adviser unit in the European Union.

The range of services of our law firm goes far beyond the usual legal service offerings, due to many years of experience, an international network of specialised lawyers, excellent contacts with experts and permanent scientific exchange with authorities, universities and colleges.

HACCP Food transparency Animal Feed Law Product take-back Consumer goods Responsibility structure Food warning Information provided to the public Food Control Design law Specifications Consumer protection centres Pet food Good Manufacturing Practice Product recall Textiles Consumer complaint Food contact materials (foodstuff commodity) Disputes with the competent authorities Duty of care Dietetic food Consumer Information Act Traditional speciality guaranteed (TSG) Quality assurance Cease-and-desist declaration Consumer Goods Compliance Cross-contamination Allergen management Consumer products Food Information Regulation Food safety Recall Complaint management Sales contracts Product liability Baby food Patent Food contact materials Reporting obligations General Terms and Conditions Food Packaging Health claim Trademarks Cosmetics Protected designation of origin (PDO) Advertising law Complaints Allergens Consumer protection Food Hygiene Food information Telecommunication means Purchase contracts The liability of the importer Insured event Animal feed control Declaration of Conformity EU Timber Trade Regulation Utility model Self-controls Distance selling business Warning Food Law Trademark protection Information rights of the authorities RASFF Design protection Information duties of authorities Protected geographical indication (PGI) Industrial property rights Food supplements Take-back Food Compliance Animal feed hygiene Risk assessment Non-governmental organisations RAPEX Advertising Allergen labelling/ Allergen information Products likely to be mistaken with food Toys Nutrition claims


„Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points“: During the production, the handling and the processing, the transportation, the storage and the sale of foodstuffs influences are to be eliminated, which can be expected to cause health problems after consumption of a food. In the context of operational self-control systems, for example, the HACCP concept serves to ward off such threats, specifically address the latter i.e. identify, evaluate, continuously record and control them.

Food transparency

The Internet platform is a public information platform of the consumer advice centres through which consumers shall particularly be informed about the presentation and labelling of food since July 2011. At the same time, a clarification or change of the current legal framework ought to be encouraged by the public legal policy debate on the presentation of products. The Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection funded the portal in the context of the initiative of clarity and truth with regard to the labelling and presentation of food until December 2012 with a total of 983,000 euros and the end of 2014, with around a further million euros. The organising bodies of the project are the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (“vzbv”) and the Consumer Advice Centre Hesse.

Animal Feed Law

The Animal feed law regulates all requirements for the production of animal feed raw materials, the permissible production and handling of feed and the correct information on feed when it is placed on the market.

Product take-back

Product take-back is any measure taken in order to prevent that a product that is in the supply chain, is placed on the market. Market-referred measures as take-backs or recalls are frequently taken in case of unsafe consumer products.


Consumer goods

Consumer goods are tangible movable items, which are bought by a consumer. For this purpose, look at consumer products.


Responsibility structure

Operational responsibility structures form the basis of a fair division of labour and help to relieve the management of a company which remains nevertheless exclusively fully responsible. A practical and adequate delegation of the responsibilities on the employee levels is the core of a Consumer Goods/Food of Compliance management system.

Food warning is the portal of the German Federal States and the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (“BVL” –“Bundesministerium für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit”). Incidents relating to foodstuffs that are not safe, are published therein. In addition to the warnings of food, this also includes the information of the public.

Information provided to the public

The information provided to the public by the authorities has gained considerable importance in the recent years. Besides the “classical” warning, included in the Law relating to risk prevention, in particular the Consumer Information Law plays an important role in this context. Accordingly, the regulatory bodies have different legal bases available to inform the public of violations of law and regulatory measures.

Food Control

The official food control includes not only the control of food but also controls of cosmetic products, articles of everyday use, for example, products that come in contact with food or the human body, or tobacco products. The producing and/or distributing of businesses, including catering and caterers, are fully investigated and officially drawn samples are examined.


Design law

The aesthetic appearance of almost all industrially and manually producible products, such as food, toys, consumer goods or packaging design, can be registered as a design at the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (“DPMA”). The registered design gives an exclusive right of use to the owner. In the European Union the product design can be registered and protected by a Community design at the Office for the Harmonisation of the Internal Market (“OHIM”). Moreover, a design can also be internationally registered with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). The aesthetic appearance of a product is also protected temporarily by means of the unregistered Community design, which, however, only protects against imitations for a period of three years.



Specifications regulate the condition of the bought consumer goods, food and/or food additives as well as raw materials. Specifications should be flexible and quickly adaptable agreements, in order to be able to take account of current developments. This requires the embedding of the specifications in appropriate contractual concepts.


Consumer protection centres

Consumer protection centres provide advice on various consumer issues, assist consumers with legal problems and represent their interests. There are consumer centres in all 16 federal states with altogether 200 advice centres. The umbrella organization for consumer advice centres and consumer associations is the Federation of German Consumer (“vzbv”).

Pet food

Animal feed that is produced from certain source materials of animal origin and intended for feeding dogs, cats, etc. is known as “pet food” and represents a special feed category, as it is subject not only to the feed law, but possibly also to the law of animal by-products, which can place special demands on the handling and the preparation of such products.

Good Manufacturing Practice

Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) means proven and recognised methods which allow the production of good quality, hygienic and safe food. The GMP is ensured within the framework of operational hygiene concepts or HACCP concepts.

Product recall

Product recall refers to any measure, which aims at recalling products already made available to the final consumer. The consumer has already obtained the respective product. Product recalls take place over the media, thus television, newspaper, radio. Since a product recall is a very intensive measure, it happens, in principle, only with unsafe consumer products, which have already reached the consumer.



Textiles are, for example, clothing textiles or textile covering materials. A textile product refers to a product which, in a (semi-) processed/manufactured/assembled form, is exclusively composed of textile fibres, regardless of the method used for mixing or assembly. For purposes of the Textile Labelling Regulation, textile products such as products with a weight of textile fibres of min. 80% or covering material for furniture, umbrellas, sun umbrellas with a weight of textile components of min. 80%. The requirements of textile products are clearly regulated by law and officially monitored.

Consumer complaint

Consumer complaints are expressions of dissatisfaction that relate to a product and can have various causes, such as (tacit) formulation changes, quality defects, damage in use/consumption of the product, but also “felt” misleading despite legal declarations. These complaints often do not reach the companies directly, but through discussions in Internet fora, social media or consumer portals like; in some cases consumer complaints are expressed vis-a-vis supervisory authorities, which then appear on the scene (obliged).

Food contact materials (foodstuff commodity)

Food packages, as well as crockery or parts of a machine for food production are among the food contact materials. The requirements of these products are legally clearly regulated and officially monitored. Food contact materials must not transfer any constituents to foods that change these unjustifiably or which might endanger the health of consumers.

Disputes with the competent authorities

Disputes with authorities in the field of food/feed law, as well as the law relating to consumer goods (cosmetics, consumer goods, textiles, toys, detergents, etc.) are not uncommon. They start with simple differences of opinion regarding the compliance with the legal requirements, but can result in administrative or penalty procedures as well as criminal proceedings. In the context of the Food/Consumer Goods Compliance, such disputes can be avoided generally and in each individual case by conducting a solution-oriented dialogue with the corresponding authorities.

Duty of care

Duty of care of the consumer goods and food business operators means the implementation of correct self-controls, in order to acquit themselves of the reproach of an unsatisfactory organisation in the case of deviations. Self-controls help the consumer goods and food business operators to fulfil their obligation to comply with all applicable legal requirements in the manufacture, treatment and processing, transportation, storage and sale of consumer goods and foodstuffs (“Consumer Goods Compliance”/ “Food Compliance”).

Dietetic food

Dietetic food is food which is intended for particular nutritional uses and tailored to the specific nutritional requirements of specific groups of persons. It involves special food that has been developed, for example, for people who suffer from a celiac disease or other metabolic diseases, as well as for pregnant women, athletes or infants and toddlers.


Consumer Information Act

According to the Consumer Information Act (“VIG”) “each” applicant has the right of access to official data on products within the meaning of the Food and Feed Code (“LFGB”), as well as consumer products. A concrete health risk does not need to exist; the right to information can also refer to past violations of the law or in fields such as labelling, origin, nature or production of products. Only in certain and closely limited exceptional cases, e.g. in current criminal procedures or if “real” business or trade secrets are revealed, the right of access to information is excluded.

Traditional speciality guaranteed (TSG)

Certain agricultural products and foodstuffs can be protected EU-wide as „ Traditional Speciality Guaranteed“ (TSG). Other than the EU-wide protection as “Protected Geographical Indication” (PGI) and “Protected Designations of Origin” (PDO) the EU quality label “Traditional Speciality Guaranteed” protects the traditional method of production, the processing type or the traditional composition of a food. The term “traditional” here means a period of at least 30 years, during which the knowledge of the production of a product has been passed on to the next generations.

Quality assurance

Quality assurance means to take all organisational and technical measures to ensure a specified product quality. In food and consumer goods manufacturing companies, this includes for example, self-tests, recipe or design and production specifications.

Cease-and-desist declaration

A cease-and-desist declaration is a declaration in which a person states that he/she will refrain from a particular behaviour (in the area of Competition Law: anticompetitive) in future. It is submitted as response to a warning. A cease-and-desist declaration with penalty clause aims at preventing any risk of a repeated infringement.


Consumer Goods Compliance

Consumer Goods Compliance means that all legal requirements of the manufacturing and marketing of consumer goods are complied with (“Compliance”). Non-Compliance/the breaching of statutory rules is punished with fines and imprisonment, fines against companies and persons or levying the economic advantages, which were attained through the offence.


Cross-contamination refers to the inadvertent entry of substances in food, whereby the entry is technically inevitable and also in compliance with the “Good Manufacturing Practice” (GMP) and the standards of hygiene can not entirely be avoided. Example: If a full milk chocolate is manufactured after the manufacturing of a nut chocolate, it cannot be completely excluded that nut particles enter into the full milk chocolate. In these cases, a trace reference to the possible existence of the allergenic substance is useful.


Allergen management

Allergenic substances can call the consumer goods and food safety into question and are, therefore, subject to special information requirements. It is important to avoid non-recipe-appropriate entries of allergens in food and other consumer goods in order to avoid public recalls or withdrawals of goods from business customers. Allergen management is the appropriate instrument for this.

Consumer products

Consumer products include a very wide spectrum. These may be new, used or re-manufactured products, which are intended to be used or will most probably be used by consumers. Classical consumer products are cars, cosmetics, but also, consumer products such as toys, textiles and jewellery. Even products, which are made available in the context of a service, fall under this broad definition, e.g. a hair dryer in the hotel industry.

Food Information Regulation

FIR stands Food Information Regulation and refers to the Council Regulation (EU) no. 1169/2011. The EU legislature has created a modern right to information on food with this Regulation. The FIR introduces, inter alia, the highlighting of allergenic ingredients in the ingredient list and a binding nutritional value declaration. Clear and understandable food information ought to help the consumer to make a sound purchasing decision, regardless of whether the latter buys groceries in a supermarket or on the Internet.


Food safety

The safety evaluation of food concerns the question whether food is unsuitable or even harmful for human consumption. In practice, this evaluation partly causes serious difficulties to enterprises and authorities, in particular during the legal assessment of limit excesses, the contamination or the proof of other unwanted materials. The question of food safety has to be separated from the question of marketability of a product. The latter is crucial for assessing the need of market-related measures.


Public product recalls are necessary to protect the health of the consumers. Pure quality defects, which do not represent any health risks, do usually not cause a public product recall, but can, however, cause “silent” product withdrawals.

Complaint management

A structured management for the processing of all official and private (customer, consumer) complaints is one of the foundations of the Food/Consumer Goods Compliance. The complaint management covers all measures, which serve the regulatory and exhaustive processing of existing complaints as well as the avoidance of future complaints.

Sales contracts

The contractual agreement on the sale of consumer goods, food and/or food raw materials is the basis of the solution of conflicts, which arise due to disturbances in the sphere of the purchaser of a product, for example, due to improper handling of the goods. Sales and/or supply contracts can specify, for example, the inspections of incoming goods which are to be conducted by the buyer of food. It involves the General Terms and Conditions which are subject to special requirements.

Product liability

Product liability refers to the liability of the manufacturer for personal injury and material damage, which is sustained by a person under normal conditions of use/consumption of a product due to a product defect.


Baby food

There are two phases of infant feeding: In the first life months the baby consumes solely breast milk or so-called baby initial food (a breast milk substitute). Then follows the nutrition phase with follow-on formulas, supplemented by complementary foods. The follow-on formulas represent the liquid share of the food and the complementary foods, e. g. in the form of fruit or vegetable mashes, represent the non-liquid share. A special form of complementary food is cereal-based foods, such as rusk.


A patent is granted for technical inventions provided they are new, thus that they represent a novelty, which involve an inventive step and are capable of industrial application. A patent protects products or procedures. The term of protection of a patent begins with the publication of the patent in the Patent Register. The term of protection of a patent is 20 years. As of the third year an extension fee is to be paid for each following year.


Food contact materials

Food contact materials are materials and articles which are intended to come into contact with food. These include food packages, as well as crockery or parts of a machine used for food production. The requirements of these products are clearly regulated by law and officially monitored. Food contact materials must not transfer any constituents to foods that change them in an inadmissible manner or endanger the health of the consumers.

Reporting obligations

Certain incidents must be reported to the supervising authorities. Violations of reporting requirements can be sanctioned by substantial fines.


General Terms and Conditions

General Terms and Conditions are subject to special requirements in order to be effectively incorporated into a contractual relationship. If these requirements are not fulfilled, these General Terms and Conditions are not applicable due to ineffectiveness. Therefore, control and surveillance of General Terms and Conditions are one of the elementary principles of contract Management.

Food Packaging

Food packaging, but also crockery or parts of a machine for food production are part of the food contact materials. The requirements of these products are legally clearly regulated and officially monitored. Food contact materials must not transfer any constituents to foods that change them in a legally inadmissible manner or endanger the health of consumers.


Health claim

A health claim is any claim that states, suggests or even indirectly expresses that there exists a relationship between a food category, a food or one of its constituents on the one hand and health on the other hand.


Trademarks identify products and services of an enterprise. Any signs, particularly words, including personal names, designs, letters, numerals, acoustic signs, three-dimensional configurations, including the shape of goods or its packaging and other presentations, including colours and colour combinations, which are capable of distinguishing products or services of a company from those of other companies can be protected as a trademark. Trademarks which lack any distinctive character with regard to the goods or services offered or which consist exclusively of signs or indications which may serve to indicate the kind, the quality, the quantity, the intended purpose, the value, the geographical origin, the time of production of goods or the provision of services and to designate other characteristics of the goods or services, are thus excluded from a trademark registration. Moreover, such trademarks are not to be registered where serious need to leave a sign free exists because they have become customary in the current language or in the bona fide and established practices of trade.



Cosmetics and cosmetic products are substances or mixtures, which are intended to come in contact with the external parts of the human body (e.g. skin, nails, lips, teeth and the mucous membranes of the oral cavity), for the purpose of cleaning, perfuming them, changing their appearance, protecting them, keeping them in good condition or to influence body odour. The requirements for these cosmetic products are legally clearly regulated and officially monitored. Besides labelling requirements also prohibitions or restrictions for certain substances are to be considered.

Protected designation of origin (PDO)

For certain agricultural and food products, there is an EU-wide protection as “Protected Geographical Indication” (PGI), “Protected Designation of Origin” (PDO) or “Traditional Speciality Guaranteed” (TSG). These special rights are regulated exclusively in the Quality Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012. The Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) is a name that is used to describe a product the origins of which lie in a certain place, in a specific area or, in exceptional cases, in a specific country, and which mainly or exclusively owes its quality or features to the geographical environment, including natural and human factors, and the entire production steps of which take place in the defined geographical area. With regard to a Protected Designation of Origin the product must, therefore, be produced, processed and prepared in the particular area.

Advertising law

The Advertising Law or also Competition Law defines the legal limits permitted with regard to advertising. It protects competitors as well as consumers as a target group of the advertising measures. The Advertising Law is governed by the Law against Unfair Competition (“UWG”) and numerous special laws. Special (product-specific) regulations can be found, inter alia, in Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 (Food Information Regulation – FIR), in Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. (Health Claims Regulation – “HCVO”) relating to nutrition and health claims information, in the dietary regulation relating to certain dietetic foods and in the German pharmaceutical-advertising Law (“HWG”).


Complaints raise the serious allegation of a violation of provisions of food law. If such complaints are raised by authorities, they may have far-reaching administrative or legal sanction consequences (fines, penalties, etc.) for companies, management and employees. Complaints on the part of industrial customers may give reason to substantial civil claims, especially claims for damages.


Allergenic substances can call into question the consumer goods and the food safety and are, therefore, subject to special information requirements. It is important to avoid non-recipe-appropriate entries of allergens in food and other consumer goods in order to avoid public recalls or product take-backs from business customers. Allergen management is the appropriate instrument for this.

Consumer protection

The term “consumer protection” describes the totality of legal texts and other legal acts as well as measures that are supposed to protect people in their capacity as consumers of goods or services. The national consumer protection regulations cover laws and regulations relating to consumer information, the ensuring of the safety and health of the consumers as well as the protection of the consumers in certain legal transactions. Important regulations on the consumer protection are e.g. individual regulations of the German Civil Law Code (among other things the right of revocation of consumer contracts and several information requirements on part of the entrepreneur, in addition, the regulations regarding the General Terms and Conditions (AGB)), the Law relating to Product Liability and the Law against Unfair Competition (“UWG”), the Food Law provisions such as Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 (Food Information Regulation – FIR) and the German Medicines Act (“AMG”).

Food Hygiene

Food hygiene means taking all measures and precautions which are necessary to control hazards and to ensure that the food is suitable for human consumption, taking into account its intended use.

Food information

Food information is any information, which concerns food and which is made available to the consumer by a label, other accompanying material, or any other means including modern technology tools, e.g., the Internet, or orally. Food information includes, e.g. information on the composition of the food, information on allergens and filling capacity, on the durability, the country of origin or the provenance of the food.

Telecommunication means

Telecommunication means refers to the traditional means of telecommunication, such as phone or form mail orders, as well as newer means of telecommunication, such as teleshopping, M-commerce (via SMS) and Internet (e-commerce). If a contract between a consumer and an entrepreneur is concluded when using telecommunication means, the consumer protection provisions of the German Civil Code for distance selling transactions are, in particular, applicable.

Purchase contracts

Contractual rules governing the purchase of consumer goods, food and/or food raw materials are the basis of the resolution of conflicts that arise due to deliveries not in accordance with the contract, because for example non specification-appropriate goods are delivered. If pre-formulated purchase contracts are used for a variety of business relationships, General Terms and Conditions could be concerned, for which special requirements apply.

The liability of the importer

According to the Law relating to consumer goods and the Food Law, the liability of the importer means that the importer is responsible for the quality and safety of products sold by the latter “as a manufacturer” (so-called substitute manufacturer liability). Imports in this sense are movements of goods from third countries into a State of the European Union.


Insured event

The term “insured event” generally indicates an event of damage or loss that triggers the obligation of an insurer. Insurance claims in the food industry can be of different nature. A classical insured event in the food industry is a product take-back and/or a product recall, which are insured by a so-called product protection insurance. A product protection insurance is a special insurance against claims resulting from an accidental contamination as a result of a manufacturing fault or by an intentional manipulation of the food by a third party (extortioner). The insurance protection will usually only be granted if the goods have already been placed on the market and the use has led to a personal injury or could cause harm (harmful foods). In individual cases, the insurance protection can also be extended to food unsuitable for human consumption. In an insured event the following costs will be covered in particular, depending on the completed insurance contract:

  • Recall costs (costs of investigation, take-back, destruction and replacement of recalled and insured products)
  • Production costs (especially material costs and production costs)
  • Additional costs
  • Difference between the possible selling price and the production costs incurred
  • Decline in sales (usually for a period of 12 months)
  • Sales promotion (e.g. advertising measures, which help to restore the sales of the insured products to the status which they had before the event of loss)
  • Consulting fees

Animal feed control

The official feed control serves the safety of foods derived from animals, the protection of animal health and of the ecosystem as well as the preservation and the improvement of the performance of the animals. The competent authorities of the federal states monitor this compliance with the rules governing undesirable substances, prohibited substances and residues or carry over of veterinary drugs, animal feed, premixes and feed additives, the name and labelling of feed, premixes and feed additives as well the as prohibitions for the prevention of fraud and the advertising.

Declaration of Conformity

A declaration of conformity is a written statement, which is submitted at the end of the conformity assessment procedure. By this statement the responsible entrepreneur expresses, that the product meets the legal and also the subordinate legal requirements. Especially in the field of food contact materials and articles made of plastic, ceramic, regenerated cellulose film, active and intelligent packaging material, as well as certain epoxy derivatives, a declaration of conformity is compulsory. A declaration of conformity is also obligatory for toys. The declarations of conformity have to meet the legal requirements in terms of content.


EU Timber Trade Regulation

EU Timber Trade Regulation regulates timber and timber products which are first placed on the internal market. It applies to both European and international products. The essential idea of it is to avoid illegal logging. Market participants are assigned far-reaching obligations to exercise duty of care, e.g. holding available information on the nature and origin of the timber and with regard to the suppliers as well as the establishment of methods to assess and reduce the risk of illegal logging. Dealers must ensure traceability of the products and hold corresponding documentation.

Utility model

The utility model is often referred to as the “small patent”. This is due to the fact that technical inventions can also be protected as utility models. The advantage of a utility model is that it can usually be registered faster than a patent. The utility model protects, however, only products and – in contrast to the patent – not procedures. Protection lasts initially for three years and may be extended to a maximum of ten years after the payment of renewal fees.


Self-controls help the consumer goods and food business operators to meet their obligation to comply with all applicable requirements with regard to manufacturing, handling and processing as well as transportation, storage and sale of consumer goods and foodstuffs (“Consumer Goods Compliance”/”Food Compliance” ). In the context of operational self-control systems, for example, the HACCP concept is the basis of the defence against health threats, by addressing them specifically, i. e. by identifying, evaluating, continuously recording and controlling them. However, self-controls also include other areas governed by law, like for example the important area of product and food information.

Distance selling business

A distance selling business exists, if a contract is concluded between an entrepreneur and a consumer without the simultaneous physical presence of the parties and by the use of so-called telecommunications means. A distance selling transaction exists for example when ordering goods by telephone or via the Internet. Numerous legal rules protect the consumer when being involved in a distance selling business such as information duties or revocation rights.


A warning is a request of a person to another person to refrain from acting or behaving in a particular manner. A warning has a special significance in Competition Law. A Competition-legal warning is normally linked with the request to deliver a cease-and-desist declaration with penalty clause within an appropriate period.

Food Law

Food law regulates all legal requirements for the production of food raw materials, the permissible production and handling of food as well as the correct information about food with regard to its marketing.

Trademark protection

The national trademark protection is conferred by a trademark registration in the German Patent and Trademark Office (“DPMA”) register. If the trademark is registered, the owner of a trademark right acquires the exclusive right to use the trademark for the claimed goods and services. The term of protection of a registered trademark is ten years and can be renewed indefinitely upon payment of a renewal fee. Not only the national trademark registration provides protection, but also the registration as a European Community trademark, which then applies to the entire area of the European Union. Moreover, the existing protection can be extended to other countries by means of an international trademark registration. The administration of the IR trademark is carried out via the international organisation for an intellectual property (World Intellectual Property Organization – WIPO) domiciled in Geneva. Regardless of registered trademark rights a protection of unregistered trademarks are under special circumstances possible, namely when the trademark has acquired distinctiveness through market recognition.


Information rights of the authorities

The authorities of the official product control have extensive rights, but also obligations to inform the public about deviations, complaints, violations of law and measures, and not only with regard to security in the area of health protection, but also to protect consumers from erroneous, especially misleading product information. The media attention associated with such information given to the public by authorities usually causes considerable damage to the companies.


RASFF stands for Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed. It is the European high-speed warning system for food, animal feed and food contact materials and articles. Unsafe products that pose a serious health risk are reported EU-wide via this system. In addition, it is published on the European Commission website.

Design protection

The registered design is an industrial property right with which an aesthetic appearance of almost every industrial or artisanal produced product, such as food, toys, consumer goods or packaging design, is protected for a limited time period. If a registered design is new and unique at the time of registration, it is protected against any unauthorised use and imitation.

Information duties of authorities

The authorities are partly obliged to inform the public, for example, if statutory recycling limits or maximum levels in products have been exceeded. The same applies if Food Law has been violated in not only a negligible extent or repeatedly and the imposition of a particular fine is to be expected. Should consumers or journalists request inspections of a company file from authorities on the basis of the German Consumer Information Act (“VIG” – applies to food and non-food), the authorities must make certain information, which is contained in government files, available to the public.

Protected geographical indication (PGI)

For certain agricultural and food products, there is an EU-wide protection as “Protected Geographical Indication” (PGI), “Protected Designation of Origin” (PDO) or “Traditional Speciality Guaranteed” (TSG). These special rights are regulated exclusively in the Quality Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012. As regards the protected geographical indication, it refers to a name that is used to describe a product the origins of which lie in a certain place, in a specific area or in a particular country, and whose quality, reputation or other characteristic is essentially attributable to the geographical origin. In contrast to the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), it is sufficient for the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), when one of the stages of production takes place in the defined geographical area. It is not necessary that the raw materials come from the defined geographical area.

Industrial property rights

The term “industrial property rights” refers to all those laws, which protect intellectual performance in the industrial area. The classical industrial property rights are the patent and utility model, which primarily protect technical inventions. This also includes Design Law, which lays down the rules for the protection of an aesthetic appearance of products. Also covered by industrial property rights are trademarks by which products and services are identified. They are especially valuable because they often stand for the quality of the product. Trademark rights are, therefore, particularly often violated. In the food industry classical trademark and product piracy probably only plays a minor role, but this is different with regard to other consumer goods. In this context, the vast majority of the infringing products come from third countries. Also geographical indications are among the industrial property rights, which are protected by national, Community law or as a result of bilateral agreements and contracts. Strictly speaking, Competition Law does not form part of the industrial property rights, but is often attributed to this area, because also the Law against Unfair Competition (“UWG”) is used to protect of the commercial performance. This is important, for example, in cases of product imitations.


Food supplements

A dietary supplement is a food that is intended to complement general nutrition. It is a concentrate of nutrients or other substances with a nutritional or physiological effect. Dosage forms are e.g. capsules, pastilles, tablets, powder sachets, liquid ampoules.



Product take-backs without the participation of public media are required to protect the market against products which show considerable quality defects. Harmful products, which may have already reached the consumer, are to be recalled publicly.

Food Compliance

Food Compliance means compliance with all legal requirements in the production and the marketing of food products (“Compliance”). Non Compliance/rule violations are punished with fines and imprisonment, fines against companies and persons or levying the economic advantages, which were attained through the offence.

Animal feed hygiene

The animal feed hygiene for the protection of humans and animals is to be adhered to by all animal feed businesses at all stages of the animal feed chain, including primary production, in order to ensure food safety on the basis of safe animal feed.

Risk assessment

The risk assessment is the identification and evaluation of a health risk, which e.g. originates from a foodstuff or a consumer product. This assessment is based on a hazard identification, a hazard characterisation, an exposure assessment and a risk characterisation. Risk management is the appropriate instrument for this.


Non-governmental organisations

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are non-governmental federations or groups, which represent common interests. A characteristic feature of them is that they are not profit-oriented and do not depend on governments or public authorities. The general usage of the term NGO has gained acceptance particularly for organisations, federations and groups which are socio-politically committed. A working area of NGOs is the food industry (e. g. see foodwatch e. V., Vier Pfoten).


RAPEX stands for Rapid Exchange of information System. It is the European rapid alert system for consumer products. Products which pose a serious risk to the health of consumers and whereupon market measures (withdrawal/recall) have been initiated are listed in the system. Consumer products are, for example, cars, cosmetics, but also consumer products like toys, textiles and jewellery. Besides internal communication, a publication on the homepage of the European Commission takes place.



Advertising means every statement made in connection with a trade, a business, or an independent profession aiming at the promotion of the sale of goods or the provision of services, including immovable property, rights and obligations. Advertisement is e. g. the marketing of a product in a handout, a catalogue, in an on-line portal or via TV.


Allergen labelling/ Allergen information

Allergen labelling/allergen information refers to the indication of substances or products used in food products as ingredients or processing aids, which may cause allergies or intolerances, e.g. gluten-containing grains such as wheat, rye, barley or oats, eggs, peanuts, milk as well as the products derived from them, for example, wheat flour, protein powder, peanut butter or lactose. Substances that get into the food by means of cross-contamination are not ingredients of the foodstuff, and, therefore, need not be labelled as such.

Products likely to be mistaken with food

Products which can be confused with food – where they involve a risk for consumers – may not be placed on the market. The question of whether a product can specifically be confused with food, is, a complex legal issue of differentiation, particularly with regard to decorative items, cosmetics etc.



Toys are very broadly defined in the Directive 2009/48/EC. With regard to general consumer products often complex delimitation issues arise, such as decorative items. The requirements for toys are very extensive and can be found in the 2. GPSGV as well as in the DIN EN 71 standardisation row. The production, the import as well as the marketing are regulated by law just like the labelling (particularly warning notices). A declaration of conformity is also required.

Nutrition claims

A nutritional claim is defined as any claim expressing that a food has particular beneficial nutritional properties. These positive properties must be based on the energy value, nutrients or other substances that the food contains, in reduced or increased quantity, or that it does not contain. Examples of nutrition claims are: energy-reduced, low fat, low sugar, high fibre and light.


Continuing education and training -KWG Academy of Applied Law relating to Food and Consumer Goods

Not only as part of public seminars, but also through in-house events KWG Academy of Applied Law relating to Food and Consumer Goods imparts and illustrates all important issues and legal innovations, with a strong practical orientation and on the basis of considerable operational experience.

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