PhD in European and International Law -
(October 1, 2017 -
September 30, 2020)
- - -
PhD in European and International Law - 33° ciclo (October 1, 2017 - September 30, 2020)
Doctorate research program
Internet-based platforms, new actors of the food chain: qualification challenges and food safety responsibilities Abstract
The food industry is currently facing one of the most significant disruptions it has seen in decades. After years of food innovation occurring in laboratories and mostly involving new techniques of agriculture production and processing, we are now in the era of “food online”, namely food “travelling” – advertised, exchanged, sold, distributed - through the Internet. The online revolution of the food pathway undeniably calls into question its main protagonists, i.e. online platforms. Web-based operators are the ones reshaping all segments of the traditional food chain, especially in relation to sale and distribution, and the road “from farm to fork” has definitely grown in complexity.
The regulation of online platforms involves numerous – countless, really – issues. When it comes to the food sector, key challenges regard the safety of products and the safeguards of consumers’ interests, in primis their right to take informed choices. That in light of the uppermost importance safety has gained in EU food regulation, in such a way that we are now speaking of EU Food Safety Law, rather than simply EU Food Law.
The doctoral research focuses on the role of online platforms as new actors of the food chain, with respect to the qualification challenges they raise and the responsibilities they have under several EU laws. The research looks at these operators as entities comprised of two traits, thus follows two main directions: the status of online platforms as information society services and the requirements binding on all food operators under EU food law, regardless of the offline or online settings. The project aims at assessing whether these two components constitute a harmonized system or whether food online platforms are subject to contradictory trends.
More specifically, the doctoral research seeks to provide answers to the following questions:
What is the status of food online platforms under EU law?
Which obligations are they subject to under EU food laws?
How far should they be held liable for illegal content accessed on their sites?