Italy is short to push forward Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) requirements to ensure consumers proper and complete information and to strengthen enforcement of the prevention and repression of food fraud on the domestic selling of milk.
On November 9th 2012 Italian Government notified, under directive No 98/34/EC, a draft decree laying down implementation of the mandatory indication of origin for shelf-stable milk, UHT milk, microfiltered pasteurised milk and high-temperature pasteurised milk.
If confirmed, it will be the first implementing measure of the Law No 4/2011 on “measures regarding the labelling and quality of agricultural products”, whose Articled 4 requires foodstuffs marketed, processed, partially processed or not processed to indicate their place of origin or provenance on their labels, consistently with methods and requirements addressed by interministerial decrees by the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry and The Minister for Economic Development (see our report on this Law: click here).
Scope: different regimes for Italian, EU and Third-country milk
The draft decree applies to the following products:
- Shelf-stable milk
- UHT milk
- Microfiltered pasteurised milk
- High-temperature pasteurised milk
The proposed requirements will apply to milk produced in Italy for the Italian market. Not-EU products should fall under the new requirements as well. A Mutual recognition’s clause is provided for so that products legally produced and marketed in another European Union Member State or in Turkey, or for products legally produced in an EFTA State signatory to the European Economic Area (EEA) agreement.
The new COOL requirement
On the labels of shelf-stable milk, UHT milk, microfiltered pasteurised milk and high-temperature pasteurised milk, will be mandatory to display
- the indication of the country of origin of the dairy of provenance of the treated milk or
- the indication of either “EU” or “third countries”, in the event that the provenance of the milk is respectively from one or more European Union Member States or from third countries.
The draft decree also sets requirements for the presentation of origin’s declaration: the indication of the origin will be placed on the label in the same visual field and in proximity to the trade description and shall be printed in such a manner as to ensure its clear legibility in characters the middle parts of which are equal to or greater than 2.0 mm. In the case of packaging or containers whose largest surface measures less than 80 cm2, the height of the x of the dimension of the characters as referred to in point 2 is equal to or greater than 1.5 mm.
Controls and Sanctions
The draft decree requires the control bodies responsible for checking compliance with the provisions of this decree must operate in accordance with the principles and criteria provided for in Regulation (EC) 882/2004.
The draft decree establishes that unless the act constitutes a crime, the breach of the requirements will be punished by and administrative fine from 1,600 euro to 9,500 euro.