What are the UT Regulations?

The Unfair Trading Regulations provide legal protection to suppliers of agri-food products against 16 specific unfair trading practices.

A supplier is an agricultural producer or any natural or legal person, including producer organisations, organisations of suppliers and associations of such organisations who sells agri-food products.

A buyer is any natural or legal person or any public authority who buys agri-food products. 

Supply agreement means a contract (whether orally or in writing) for the sale or supply of agri-food products by a supplier to a buyer.

The Regulations apply to business-to-business relationships and do not apply to arrangements between suppliers and consumers.

What products are in scope for the UT Regulations

The Regulations apply to agri-food products listed in Annex I to the Treaty of the functioning of the European Union (TFEU) as well as products not listed in that Annex, but processed for use as food using products listed in that Annex. The number and type of agri-food products that the UT Regulations apply to is extensive and includes:

  • Agricultural products directly listed in Annex I, such as live animals, live trees and other plants, cut flowers and ornamental foliage, cereals, and milling industry products.
  • Food products directly listed in Annex I, such as vegetables, fruit, fish, meat and dairy produce.
  • Products processed from Annex I products for use as food, such as chocolate, prepared meals or sauces and processed dairy products (e.g. dairy spreads or yoghurts).

Turnover Provisions

The Unfair Trading Regulations provide legal protection for any supplier of agri-food products subject to their annual turnover being lower than that of their buyer turnover once the buyer’s annual turnover is greater than €2m. The relevant turnover is established according to the criteria of the Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SME) recommendation under 2003/361/EC. To establish the turnover of a supplier or buyer, the turnover of any linked or partner enterprise/s of which they may be members should also be considered.

A supplier who sells to a public authority can rely on the protection against unfair behaviour of the public authority regardless of turnover considerations.