Original language


Date of text
Type of court
National - lower court
Court name
Tribunale Amministrativo Regionale (T.A.R.) Campania
Seat of court
Reference number
Burden of Proof, Prevention, Evidence
Free tags
Environment gen.
Food & nutrition
Nunziata., G,
Fiorentino, V.
Cernese, V.
The holder of a zootechnical farm in Cancello Arnone (province of Caserta) brought action to have an order of the Local Health Authority declared void on grounds of breach of legislation in force. The contested order concerned the compulsory slaughter of bovines considered to be infected with brucellosis. The claimant asserted that several of the slaughtered bovines had been vaccinated or were immune to the disease. The claimant added that diagnostic had been carried out through serological tests rather than bacteriological tests; he asserted that the former determined non realiable results and subsequently the slaughtering of immune animals. The Court took into account initiatives undertaken by the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies aimed at ensuring consumer protection as well as the promotion and protection of designation of origin of “mozzarella di bufala campana”. With a view to ensuring food safety, prevention of fraud and adulteration of related products (such as introduction of frozen milk) must be guaranteed. Recalling the precautionary principle, the Court held that if Local Health Authorities assess violation of public health rules, they may order suspension of supply activities, even if there is no evidence of effective injury. The Court held that the defendant had acted pursuant to the precautionary principle, which states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking the action. Accordingly the Court rejected the action brought by the farm.