The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has been directed to rule that food retailers and distributors share with producers the responsibility for ensuring products they handle are correctly labelled.

In an Italian case involving supermarket Lidl, ECJ advocate general Christine Stix-Hackl has formally advised that EU directive 2000/13/EC on the labelling, presentation and advertising of foodstuffs should not be read “as meaning that the obligations…are imposed only on the producer of a pre-packaged food product”.

However, although responsibility “is also carried by all persons involved in the production and distribution process”, businesses must have the opportunity “to verify the accuracy of the particulars on the label” to be liable.