Taking Stock – New Agri Food Regulator

The Agricultural and Food Supply Chain Bill was signed into law on 11 July 2023. Although not yet commenced, the new Act is intended to give further effect to Directive 2019/633 on unfair trading practices in the agricultural and food supply chain (the “Directive”). In particular, the Act provides for the establishment of a new regulator for businesses dealing in or relating to any agricultural and food products in the supply chain. 


The EU (Unfair Trading Practice Regulations in the Agricultural and Food Supply Chain) Regulations 2021 (the “UTP Regulations”) transpose the Directive into Irish law and provide protection to suppliers of agriculture and food products against 16 unfair trading practices (see our previous briefing on the UTP Regulations here). 

New Regulator

The Act provides for the establishment of a new independent statutory office, known as An Rialálai Agraibhia (the “Agri Food Regulator”). The functions currently vested in the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine (the “Minister”) under the UTP Regulations will transfer to the new Agri Food Regulator on the ‘establishment day’ (which will be appointed by the Minister). 

Functions of the Agri-Food Regulator

The primary functions of the Agri Food Regulator will include:

  • carrying out price and market analysis;
  • publishing reports on price and market data; 
  • liaising with industry stakeholders in the supply chain;
  • enhancing understanding of, and compliance with, and enforcement of the agri-food unfair trading law; and
  • providing guidance. 

The Agri-Food Regulator will play an important role in the regulation of the agri-food industry and will be responsible for providing market information to the Minister and making recommendations to the Minister regarding any proposed changes to the Act.

The Agri-Food Regulator will be required to provide a report in writing to the Minister at the end of each financial year-end summarising its activities. This annual report will be published and will include any recommendations to the Minister for legislation relating to any aspect of fairness and transparency in the agricultural and food supply chain.

 Enforcement Powers of the Agri-Food Regulator

In carrying out its compliance function, the Agri-Food Regulator will have the power to carry out inspections, to investigate breaches of agri-food unfair trading law and will also have jurisdiction to initiate proceedings for any offences under the Act. This will include the imposition of sanctions that may arise as a result of such investigations. Notably, Agri-Food Regulator will have jurisdiction to impose a fine of up to ten million euro (€10,000,000) on persons who are found to be engaging in unfair trading practices.

The Agri-Food Regulator will also have jurisdiction to hear complaints as submitted by a supplier, a trade organization, or a not-for-profit organisation on behalf of any supplier whom it represents. 

What’s next?

The Minister has described the Act as “landmark legislation”. It is hoped that the establishment of the new Agri-Food Regulator will give further effect to the Directive and will play an important role in promoting and enforcing the principles of fairness and transparency in the agricultural and food supply chain in Ireland. The Act has not yet been commenced, however, the secondary legislation required to implement the Act is currently being prepared. 

Also contributed to by Edwina Kelly

This document has been prepared by McCann FitzGerald LLP for general guidance only and should not be regarded as a substitute for professional advice. Such advice should always be taken before acting on any of the matters discussed.