Indication of lot number in transport documents.
Question: Does a wholesaler or a retailer (supermarket) who sells to a catering business (hotel, restaurant, nursery school kitchen) various food products have an obligation to report the description of the products and the lots in the transport documents for traceability purposes? What is the legislation to which reference must be made that obliges the lots to be indicated in the transport documents?
Lawyer Stefano Senatore answers.
To answer the question, reference must first be made to the tax regulations contained in Article 1, paragraph 3 of Presidential Decree No. 472/1996.
It is this provision, in fact, that generally regulates the content of all transport documents (DDT) and provides, as far as it is relevant here, that they must contain, inter alia, 'a description of the nature, quality and quantity of the goods supplied'.
In the foodstuffs sector, further mandatory elements are required by Regulation (EU) 1169/2011 on consumer information.
In relation to the case in question, Article 8(7) of the regulation is of particular relevance, which concerns pre-packed foodstuffs intended to be supplied to catering establishments for subsequent preparation, processing, splitting or cutting up.
In this case, it is stipulated that all of the mandatory information listed in Article 9 (including the name, list of ingredients, allergens, net quantity, etc.), if not directly indicated on the individual prepackaging or on the relevant labels, must be included on the commercial documents (and therefore also on the TDs, if issued) accompanying the product or sent before or at the same time as delivery.
On the other hand, with regard to the lot number, the obligation to include this information on the transport documents of food products is provided for by Legislative Decree No. 231/2017, in two different hypotheses:
- for non-prepacked products, Article 17(6) stipulates that the lot, if not affixed on the packaging or container, must appear on the commercial sales documents (therefore also on the DDT, when issued);
- for products intended for further processing by other operators, Article 20 requires that the batch number, in addition to a number of other indications, must appear on the commercial documents unless it appears on the packaging or container or on a label affixed thereto.
[Article published in the magazine Alimenti&Bevande, no. 6/2021, Filo diretto con l'esperto, p. 97-98].