Fresh and preserved bread, ABC ministerial decree


To bakeries, fresh and preserved bread is dedicated Interministerial Decree 1.10.18 no. 131. An act of secondary standardization, of relatively modest impact and yet worthy of attention. Two new features, a ban on adding preservatives to fresh bread and a three-day limit on its processing cycle. ABC to follow.

DM 1.10.18 no. 131, bakery

The interministerial decree October 1, 2018
, n. 131, is aimed at regulating ‘the designation of bakery“, by fresh bread” and the adoption of the wording preserved bread”.‘ (1)


shall mean

an enterprise that has facilities for the production of bread and possibly other bakery and assimilated or related products and carries out the entire production cycle from processing of raw materials to final baking
‘ (Article 1).



at first glance .
. Except for perhaps a faint sigh of pride from the corporation’s adherents. From the operational point of view, it is in any case a ‘
‘ for food production. (2) At most, establishments that merely bake doughs made in other workshops-perhaps by the same company-will revise the name of the sign.

Ministerial Decree 1.10.18 no. 131, fresh bread

Fresh bread
is that prepared ‘
according to a continuous production process, free of interruptions aimed at freezing or deep-freezing, with the exception of slowing down the

leavening process, free of preservative additives and other treatments having a preservative effect
‘ (Article 2). The continuity of the process is conditioned by a time limit, no more than 3 days – 72 hours – must elapse from the start of processing to the release of the

The freezing of dough
and raw bread was and remains permissible, within 72 hours. Such a limitation, moreover without explanation, may, on the other hand, be a hindrance to those small bakeries, in the South especially, that makehigh-quality breads with leavening and refreshments (so-called dough standstill) that exceed 48 hours of processing time.

The ban on the use of preservatives
means that additives such as calcium propionate (E282), hitherto used in the summerseason to improve the preservation of small-format fresh bread, can no longer be used. In fact, until now those samesubstances-propionic acid, in various salts-have been added as additives that form naturally in sourdough breads but sometimes fail because they require long fermentation. (3)

The pre-packaged sliced bread
often sold in supermarkets, in turn, may no longer be referred to as ‘
fresh bread
‘ if it contains preservatives – although authorized in the EU – such as sorbic acid and potassium sorbate.

DM 1.10.18 no. 131, preserved bread

To loose or pre-wrapped bread information requirements on the physical state of the product apply (e.g., the frozen, thawed) that must accompany the food name. Information already stipulated as mandatory, by Regulation (EU) No. 1169/11, on prepackaged food labels. (4) These obligations in any case do not apply:

– ‘
to foods for which freezing is a technologically necessary step in the production process,

– To foods on which thawing has no adverse effect in terms of safety or quality

. (5)

Bread that has been preserved or has an extended shelf life

should therefore be designated as ‘


‘, in all cases where it has been frozen following baking and thawed for the purpose of sale


The state ‘


must be indicated, applying the EU standards referred to in the decree, even when heat blasting has taken place on raw bread. Again, in fact, the consumer could be misled by the omission of the information. (6) He might trust appearances and believe in the ‘freshness’ of a bread that actually comes from a loaf frozen months earlier.

Thawed, preserved, partially baked bread. Methods of sale

At the time of sale,

bread for which a preservation method is used during its preparation or throughout the production process, shall be displayed in specially
reserved.‘ (7) Nothing new, compared to what was already established at the time by Presidential Decree30.11.98, no. 502, still in force today. (8)

Bread obtained by completion of baking

from partially baked bread, frozen or unfrozen, must be distributed and offered for sale in separate compartments from fresh bread and in pre-packaged packages bearing in addition to the information required by L.D. 27.1.92, no. 109 [now EU reg. 1169/11 and Legislative Decree 231/17, ed.]
, including the following:

a) “

obtained from frozen partially baked bread”

in case of sourced from frozen product;

b) “

obtained from partially baked bread

in the case of being sourced from non-frozen product n



Where the operations of completing the baking and pre-packaging of bread cannot take place in areas separate from those where the product is sold, such operations may also take place, subject in any case to hygiene and health regulations, in the same sales area and the specific wording referred to in Paragraph I shall also appear on a sign displayed in a manner clearly visible to the consumer in the sales area‘.(Presidential Decree 502/88, Art. 1)

The problem of returns – the real problem, in the bread supply chain-which some experts say accounts for up to 30 percent of its cost, with the greatest burden of food waste and the resulting environmental management burdens-was not even touched by the new decree. Among other things, the Antitrust Authority recently launched an investigation against the retail giants in Italy (

Coop Italy, Conad, Esselunga, Eurospin, Auchan



). But unfair trade practices are known to burn hotter than freshly baked bread. And perhaps only the new European directive Will be able to help us to curb it. (9)

Dario Dongo


(1) See Official Gazette 19.11.18,

(2) See reg. EC 852/04, Art. 2.1.c

(3) The use of propionic acid and propionates (E 280-283) is permitted in Europe on ‘bread and rolls’ (EC Reg. 1333/08, item 7.1). With the exclusion of ‘
Bread prepared solely from the following ingredients: wheat flour, water, brewer’s yeast or yeast, salt
‘. And it is prevalent, in the summertime, in small-format breads. Which have a shorter leavening time than larger breads and therefore do not produce sufficient propionic acid during fermentation. Therefore, the addition of propionic acid serves to prevent the formation of mold

(4) See DM 131/18, Article 3.1, reg. EU 1169/11, Annex VI.A.1

(5) See reg. EU 1169/11, Annex VI, Part A, point 2, letters ‘b’ and ‘c’

(6) And it is precisely the risk of possible consumer confusion about the actual characteristics of the product (quality and production process, among others) that triggers the information requirement about its physical state. V. reg. EU 1169/11, art. 17

(7) Cf. DM 131/18, Article 3.3

(8) DPR 502/88, ‘Regulation containing rules for the revision of the regulations on the processing and trade of bread, pursuant to Article 50 of Law Feb. 22, 1994, no. 146

(9) The AGCM (Antitrust Authority) should have supervised the application of Article 62 of Law 24.3.12 no. 27. But it did nothing, except to conclude proceedings in favor of a microenterprise that had fractured, in 6 years of guilty inaction. See the previous article
and the author’s ebook, ‘

Article 62, a revolution?

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.