Milk Sounding, green light from antitrust.


The battle waged by Great Italian Food Trade against ”

Milk Sounding

‘ encounters a transitory obstacle at the


, which dismisses our appeal for ‘

manifest groundlessness

‘. So much for the rules in place in Italy and the EU to protect the consumer and the production chain.

Milk sounding, Great Italian Food Trade’s appeal to the Antitrust Authority.

Great Italian Food Trade sent a report on 5 cases of unfair business practices to the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM, also known as Antitrust) in November 2017.

Milk sounding
– i.e., the misleading evocation of milk on labels and advertisements for products that have little or nothing to do with it-is the common trait of the reported practices. In summary,

– Galatine candies who boast ‘

80% milk

, compared with equal carbohydrate content (mostly sugars) and varying proportions of powdered product,

– ‘

Milk slices

Inalpi. Nothing really but melted cheese, with various other ingredients,

– ‘

milk sandwiches

, under Morato Pane and Conad brands, with evidence of milk glass on the front label and powdered product in the ingredient list,

mineral water Sangemini

, one liter of which is compared to 1/4 of milk in terms of calcium content. In blatant violation of the European regulation on ‘Nutrition & Health Claims’. (1)

Milk sounding, the antitrust ruling

The Antitrust Authority

of Competition and the Market, in its meeting on July 5, 2018, hypothesized for the Belpaese a ‘

special status

‘ on theuse of the food name ‘milk’.

A legal name which throughout the rest of Europe is instead protected and guaranteed by regulatory instruments (EU Common Market Organization regulations), European Commission interpretative documents (2) and EU Court of Justice rulings. (3)

From today in Italy, in the opinion of the AGCM, everything can be called ‘milk‘ and everything can be equated with the ‘product of mammary secretion.’ And therefore, in the curious sense of Antitrust,

– any ingredient in composite products employed in concentrated form, that is, in powder form, can legitimately bear the attribute ‘natural.’

– any product composed of a variable percentage of concentrated or powdered ingredients-and, in the remaining (majority) portion, various oils and sugars-may sport illustrations on the front of the label that refer to the basic ingredient, (4)

– any ingredient that is originally fresh, although subjected to intensive treatment (such as pasteurization, concentration, freeze-drying, etc.), may be represented and described on the label by the term ‘fresh.’

Milk sounding, transitional conclusions

To the cry ‘
Free all!
‘, on the basis of the aforementioned pronouncement, one could expect the proliferation of deceptive advertisements depicting the innovative presence of surprisingly ‘fresh’ and ‘natural’ ingredients, as only Italic soil can offer.(5) In mind-boggling percentages to boot!

An incitement to crime

against the more swaggering operators, who will find further incentive to propose ‘

aliud pro alio

‘ to unsuspecting consumers. The latter, in the 7 seconds spent on average to choose what to put in the shopping cart, will undergo further deception. Under the aura, betrayed by the facts, of ‘characteristic’ ingredients and ‘representative,’ i.e., otherwise proper to the foods in question.


misleading advertising

of the Galatines, meanwhile, had already expressed the IAP (Institute for Advertising Self-Discipline). We had even written about it, without, however, receiving any consideration from AGCM.

On the improper ‘
nutritional comparison’ between different amounts of different foods (water and milk!) it would have sufficed to consult a European regulation that has been in force for 12 years, but not even that the Authority deigned. (6)

Why then not compare the fat contained in Coke Zero with that of a smoked salmon? Or the protein intake of a dietary supplement with that of Parmesan cheese? It is then permissible to compare a glass of a fruit juice with the ‘

recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables


‘Free all!
‘, extolled Franco Basaglia in his time. However, without ever losing sight of the context, and the necessary containment measures.

Dario Dongo


(1) See reg. EC 1924/06, Article 9

(2) See EU Communication 8.6.18, ‘Questions and Answers on EU Regulation 1169/11 and related unfair practices

(3) Case C-422/16, judgment 14.6.17

(4) Acceding to this interpretive theorem, a candy that contains a minimal percentage of fruit juice concentrate will be able to boast the equivalent juice content on the label (e.g., ‘with X% fruit juice‘). As if the concentrate is virtually reconstituted (by the consumer’s saliva, perhaps?). Provided that ‘juice concentrate (Y%) equivalent to X% fruit juice‘ is included in the ingredient list

(5) Any reference to the blasphemous definition of ‘Italic oil’ is self-explanatory (sigh!)

(6) In defiance of the provision cited in footnote 1, Sangemini’s marketing had the audacity to compare the amount of calcium in 1 liter of mineral water with that contained in 250 ml of milk, even pointing out how water-unlike milk-contains no calories, fat or risk of intolerance (!)

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