Location of the plant, it is decreed

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Bim-Bum-Bam! As if by magic, the legislative decree on plant location overcomes insurmountable obstacles in Brussels and goes to the Council of Ministers for signature. Dream or reality? The second, one would say.

Restoring the location of the factory as mandatory news on the labels of Made in Italy food has always been a priority of those who believe in and invest in our production chain. Not surprisingly, opposed by Big Food, which instead speculates onItalian Sounding, passing off as Italian food produced where it is most convenient.

The government was forced to reintroduce this obligation, in spite of resistance from multinational food corporations, precisely because of the insistence of the most determined ConsumAtors and entrepreneurs, who followed up on our petition.


The 10 big sisters of food
therefore organized an effective barrage in Brussels, where member states and the Commission tenaciously opposed the outline of a measure to protect Made in Italy.

Surprisingly, the government backtracked. Withdrawing the draft legislation under consideration from the European notification system to which every national technical standard affecting goods and services must be submitted. And just when an aut-aut from Brussels was expected – like, either Italy withdraws the initiative or it is subjected to infringement proceedings – the decree received the informal placet from the European Commission and was signed by the Council of Ministers. (1)

A sle ight of hand that can only be explained by the elusive logic of politics. Which even escapes the principles of European law established in the Treaty, (2) and the acts derived from it. A friendly pat on the back, on the surface, (3) from Commissioner Junker to Premier Gentiloni. In exchange for what, it is not even given to imagine.

‘The decree requires, for all prepacked food products intended for the final consumer or mass caterers, the indication on the label of the location of the production or, if different, packaging establishment’ (CdM, press release no. 44, 15.9.17)

Controls and sanctions are entrusted to the ‘Department of the Central Inspectorate for the Protection of Quality and Fraud Repression of Agri-Food Products of the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies, without prejudice to the competencies vested under current regulations in the Competition and Market Authority, as well as those of the bodies in charge of detecting violations.’ (4)

The text of the decree is not yet available, governance and transparency are unknown even at the Ministry where Carlo Calenda pontificates about the ‘economy 4.0’. So curiosity remains as to whether, for example, the curious limitation of application to ‘processed’ food products only has been maintained.

We look forward to it!

Dario Dongo

Notes

(1) See press release 15.9.17 no. 44, item 4, at http://www.governo.it/articolo/comunicato-stampa-del-consiglio-dei-ministri-n-44/8086

(2) It seems that the European Commission itself has suggested that Italy bypass the technical standards notification procedures (TRIS system under dir. 98/34/EC, EU reg. 1169/11). Appealing instead to Article 114 of the Treaty, which allows member states to ‘maintain national provisions justified by major needs referred to in Article 36 (public morality, public policy, public security, protection of health and life of humans and animals or preservation of plants…’

(3) In fact, the procedure adopted under TFEU Article 114 provides that within six months of the publication of the rule, the Commission may take action to request its removal. Therefore, it is not ruled out that this could happen, perhaps after the 2018 general election

(4) In line with theimproper decision made in the sanctions decree regarding reg. EU 1169/11