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Sebastián Romero Melchor

Fax +32.(0)2.336.1901

Sebastián Romero Melchor is a partner in the firm’s Brussels office. He focuses his practice on food and nutrition law matters in the European Union and EU member states. He represents a wide variety of multinational firms and trade associations on such matters as EU regulatory law and policy (free movement of goods), food labeling and advertising issues (health and nutrition claims), product registration (novel foods, food supplements, food for special medical purposes, cosmetics, etc.), and product liability (withdrawals, recalls), among others, with special focus on functional foods and drinks.

Sebastián Romero Melchor is recommended by Legal 500 Belgium 2014 and K&L Gates’ EU Regulatory Food practice is recommended as a TOP-TIER FIRM by Legal 500 Belgium 2014.

Professional Background

Mr. Romero Melchor has practiced as a lawyer at English and Spanish top law firms and in the European Commission. Mr. Romero Melchor is a visiting professor in nutrition law at the UIB – Universidad de las Islas Baleares.

Professional/Civic Activities

  • President, Asociación Española para el Derecho Alimentario
  • Deputy secretary-general, Asociación Iberoamericana para el Derecho Alimentario
  • Member, European Food Law Association
  • Member, Food Lawyers’ Network Worldwide

Speaking Engagements

  • Hero Regulatory Meeting (Switzerland, June 18 2014)
  • “Mutual Recognition (import from third countries)” in Akademie Fresenius Food Supplements Conference organised by Meisterernst Rechtsanwälte (Mainz, Frankfurt A.M., 25 - 26 June, 2014)
  • Lexxion Food Law Conference (Mainz, Frankfurt A.M., June 26 2014)
  • "Nutrition & Health Claims in Disguise, Mandatory Labelling and Misleading Advertising" in 2nd International Workshop Food, Nutrition & Health Claims Legislation in Europe organised by Health Claims Europe (Anaheim CA, USA, March 6, 2014)
  • Fresenius Conference Health and Nutrition Claims (Frankfurt, Germany, 13-14 May 2014)
  • “Essential Novel Food Regulation Update” in Food Ingredients Europe Conference organised by Food Ingredients (Frankfurt, Germany, November 19-21, 2013) 
  • “Public Liability for Warnings” in 7th International European Food and Feed Law Conference organised by Lexxion (Copenhagen, Denmark, October 24, 2013) 
  • “Assessing the Impact of Using Soft and Nutritional Claims on Delivering Health Message to Consumers” in FOOD NEWS WORLD DAIRY 2013 organised by Informa Agra (Cologne, Germany, October 3-4, 2013) 
  • “GMO(-free) labelling in the EU” in Ninth Annual Nutrition Law Symposium 2013 organised by Stoel Rives LLP and Association of Corporate Counsel (Utah, USA, September 18, 2013) 
  • “Sustanciación y plausibilidad de los resultados para obtener declaraciones de propriedades de salud” in Curso De Verano 2013 organised by Universidad Católica San Antonio de Murcia (Murcia, Spain, September 12-13, 2013) 
  • “Legislative Update: How Colouring Foods are Currently Differentiated from Natural Colours” in Colouring Foods Forum 2013 organised by Food Ingredients Europe (Brussels, Belgium, September 11, 2013) 
  • “Probiotics - Voluntary or mandatory information?” in Summer School of Food Law organised by IGIFOOD (Warsaw, Poland, June 24-26, 2013) 
  • “Practical problems in the Application of the Health Claims Regulation” in Nutrition and Health Claims Workshop organised by Informa (Brussels, Belgium, June 18, 2013) 
  • “Sustainable Foods: Marketing Claims & Mislabelling” in The 5th European Edition Sustainable Foods Summit organised by Organic Monitor (Amsterdam, The Netherlands, June 6-7, 2013) 
  • “Las claves de la legislación europea sobre Health Claims en los alimentos” in Jornada Sobre Retos Y Oportunidades Empresariales en el Marco Europeo de Health Claims Y Comunicación al Consumidor 2013 organised by Universidad de las Islas Baleares (Palma de Mallorca, Spain, May 10, 2013) 
  • “Update and implications of the review of PARNUTS Framework Directive” in Annual Conference on European Food Law 2013 organised by ERA (Barcelona, Spain, May 6-7, 2013) 
  • “Case Study: The practical application of the Mutual Recognition Principle” in Food, Nutrition & Health Claim Legislation in Europe organised by Health Claims Legislation Europe (New-York, USA, April 30, 2013) 
  • “Communicating Claims and Labelling to B2B Clients, Health Care professionals, and Consumer” in 4th Supplement Claims Workshop Botanicals, Nutrients & Food Supplement Claims Europe organised by Food Nutrition & health Claims Legislation in Europe (Brussels, Belgium, April 18, 2013) 
  • Green Claims Belgium, in Annual Food Law Conference 2013 (Prague, Czech Republic, March 1, 2013) 
  • The Italian connection: Italy goes its own way, in Probiotech & Microbiota 2013 ( Hotel Metropole, Brussels, February 5-6, 2013) 
  • Conference Chair in “EU Regulations For Food Supplements 2013”, organised by Informa Agra (Brussels, Belgium, January 22-23, 2013)

Forthcoming conferences: 
  • First Annual Food and Consumer Law Seminar (Utah, USA, September 10 2014)
  • Food-2014 organised by BIT CONGRESS (Changchun, China, September 4-6, 2014)
  • Food supplements workshop (Warsaw, Poland, 24 September 2014)
  • Nutrition and Health Claims workshop (Warsaw, Poland, 28 October 2014)

Additional Information

Mr. Melchor contributes to several top food publications such as EU Food Law, Agra Europe, Agrafood Biotech, World Drinks Report, and other European leading journals. He is also in charge of the legal analysis section of World Food Regulation Review. He contributes with longer feature articles to Spanish legal journals such as Gaceta Jurídica de la CE y de la Competencia, Comunidad Europea Aranzadi, Alimentaria, etc.

Recent publications:
  • “Partial Repeal of the Royal Decree on Quality Standards for Yogurt”, in European Food and Feed Law Review Volume 8 nº 2, 2013, p.212 Joint article with Sara Aparicio Hill 
  • “Company names can be made public where food is unfit for human consumption but not injurious to health, EU Court rules”, in Food, Drugs, Medical Devices and Cosmetics (FDA) Alert (K&L Gates website), April 17, 2013 
  • “A Yankee in King Arthur's Court: A Lawyer's Perspective of EFSA”, chapter in Foundations of EU Food Law and Policy p 279: Ten years of European Food Safety Authority, Ashgate Publishing. Joint article with Mr. Luis González Vaqué 
  • “Blanket Ban on Animal Testing on Cosmetics Enters into Force” in Food, Drugs, Medical Devices and Cosmetics (FDA) Alert (K&L Gates website), March 12, 2013 
  • “New EU Guidance on Health Claims”, in Food, Drugs, Medical Devices and Cosmetics (FDA) Alert (K&L Gates website), February 14, 2013 
  • “Consideraciones tempestivas: el destino de los probióticos en Europa” chapter in UE: Sociología y Derecho Alimentarios”, Estudios Jurídicos en Honor de Luis González Vaqué, Thomson Reuters Aranzadi Publishing, January 2013

To view a list of Mr. Romero Melchor's recent publications, please see the Publications box. A comprehensive list of Mr. Romero Melchor's publications is available here.
In the botanical extracts field, he represented the Spanish food supplement industry in the seminal case C-88/07 Commission v Spain, of March 5, 2009, whereby the CJEU condemned the Spanish authorities for not implementing the mutual recognition principle to herbal food supplements legally marketed in other Member States. This ruling opened the Spanish market to food supplements from around the world and represented a significant clarification of the borderline between foods and medicines in EU law.

He has developed significant expertise in the field of health and nutrition claims and the interpretation of Regulation 1924/2006.

In the novel food sphere, we have prepared applications for substantial equivalence for several clients and we regularly advise novel food producers on questions of legal interpretation and practical application of Regulation (EC) 258/97 on novel foods and novel food ingredients. Some applications are public and can be viewed at the following webpage: http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/thechiacompany.pdf.

In the vitamins and minerals sphere, following his action before the European Commission, Spain dropped the maximum limits of vitamins and minerals present in food supplements and has adopted a flexible approach towards the application of the mutual recognition principle.

He has extensive experience in the legal assessment of food labels and regularly advises food business operators on questions of legal interpretation and practical application of Regulation 1169/2011 on food information to consumers, category-specific legislation and the national rules complementing this framework.

He has developed significant expertise in the notification of food supplements in the EU Member States. Together with his team, he has obtained thousands of registration letters for manufacturers worldwide willing to benefit from the mutual recognition principle, and he is regularly in contact with the national officials in charge of these matters.

Legal and regulatory services provided include:
  • Drafting legal opinions on the compliance status of food supplements, foods for special nutritional purposes, botanical extracts, novel foods and ingredients, functional foods, organic products, cosmetics, borderline products and regular foods;
  • Applying for regulatory clearance for the use of these products in the EU and Member States; 
  • Advising on food labeling and advertising issues, with a special focus on the possibility of using nutrition and health claims; 
  • Providing general EU food law advice, etc.