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Sector Food & Agri

Food prints, start-up concepts, packaging, blurring, new insurance policies: new items surface regularly in the food & agri sector. Developments follow one another at a rapid pace. The industry is inspired by the latest trends, continually comes up with new concepts and products, experiments with high tech inventions and, at the same time, does all it can to earn the trust of the consumer. Innovations in their turn require new standards and regulations, and vice versa. All of these matters can evoke legal issues for food and agri entrepreneurs and other involved parties. What is permitted and what is not? How can I make use of opportunities and how do I control risks? Am I overlooking anything in contracts? How do I protect my idea?

Food & Agri is the largest economic sector in our country and therefore one of the most important engines behind the Dutch economy. The industry often contains long chains: from raw materials, treatment and processing up to packaging, storage and distribution of food. The chains and accompanying services cover a wide range, and thus the legal matters and topics do as well. Think of liability, damage and insurance law, corporate law, real estate and administrative law or intellectual property and IT law: as an entrepreneur, you have to deal with the entire legal spectrum. This is why it is good to have a specialty team standing behind you. In Dirkzwager’s Food & Agri group, there are a number of (agri) civil-law notaries and lawyers from various areas of law that work together closely. We combine all of our expertise in the branch and, obviously, this involves the entire process: from ‘field to fork’.

Product requirements are very important in the food and agri industry. It is a fact that food must be safe. How do you deal with regulatory pressure, audits and risk management? Contracts and general terms and conditions are required and often collaboration agreements are needed as well. Which type of business do you select when beginning or expanding your company: agency, franchise or some other type? Sometimes a business is acquired, a business site is purchased or a company must be relocated. Then advice in the area of, for example, financing and securities would be very welcome. The interest in sustainable energy and recycling waste flows is very topical. In implementing windmills, the storage of heat and cooling, geothermal resources and fermentation plants, the agri civil-law notary is often involved in order to, for example, establish superficies. Another trend is unique shopping concepts. Suppose that the shoemaker begins selling non-industrial beer. What would this involve? Is a non-food retailer allowed to sell food in his leased property? And, finally, there are many innovations with respect to concepts and products. Are the risks covered? Which promotional texts are permitted? And are the brands and the know-how of your business secret that is related to your business protected?

The entire legal spectrum of Food & Agri

As entrepreneur, there are many points to consider that you may not think of immediately. Because of its multi-disciplinary approach, the Food & Agri group is prepared for many topics and solutions, from contracts to environmental regulations, from risk management to product liability/recalls, from trademarks to monitoring. We follow the developments, know the current trends and lead the way in legal knowledge. This knowledge enables us to assist entrepreneurs in making the most of as many opportunities as possible and in restricting risks.

Regional and national

Dirkzwager is located close to Food Valley NL. There is close contact with the food and agri businesses and educational institutions in the region. For many years now, we have been working with very diverse clients in the sector, both regional and national: for food and agri businesses, landowners and landscape managers, distributors and carriers, suppliers, processing industries, authorities, insurers and R&D organisations.

We offer advice and assistance with:

  • Product liability, recalls, food safety and traceability
  • Packaging and labelling
  • Health and advertisements
  • Risk management and insurance law
  • Environmental- and nature conservation
  • M&A, financing and securities
  • Legal forms and partnerships
  • Agreements (purchase/sale, R&D, distribution, collaboration) and general terms and conditions
  • Energy issues and recycling of waste flows
  • Soil pollution
  • Audits, enforcement, objections and appeal proceedings with sanctions and penalties
  • Permits and subsidies
  • (Ground) lease and superficies
  • Agricultural law

For cross-border advice, Dirkzwager has its own German Desk. We are affiliated with TELFA (Trans European Law Firms), a European alliance of law firms and civil-law notary practices that provide one another with assistance across the border. TELFA is affiliated with other international networks, such as the American USLAW.