Milk Sounding, the word from the Antitrust Authority


Milk Sounding, lies about milk reported to antitrust.

The phenomenon of Milk Sounding, i.e., deceptive recall of milk on labels and advertisements, has been reported to the Antitrust Authority by Great Italian Food Trade.

There were five cases reported on November 3, 2017: Galatine candy, Fettine di latte melted cheese, Sangemini mineral water, Morato Pane milk sandwiches also under the Conad brand.

TheAntitrust Authority, Autorità Garante per la Concorrenza e il Mercato (AGCM), is responsible for, among others, independently ensuring consumer protection and safegu ards under the Consumer Code (1). It has therefore been interested in recent years in assessing the fairness and where appropriate sanctioning the misleading advertising and unfair business practices of some large operators. In the most diverse contexts of goods production and service delivery, from food to air transportation.

What is milk sounding

The emblematic cases of milk sounding reported to the AGCM-two of which have already been reported to the Institute for Advertising Self-Discipline (IAP)-are characterized by misleading labels and advertisements in evoking milk and its nutritional values. The consumer is suggested with literal and visual reminders of an ingredient that is, however, missing from the five reported products. For in the candy industry, as in the processed cheese and industrial baked goods industries, fresh pasteurized milk has never been seen. Concentrated and/or powdered milk rather, which have little to do with the original raw material-in nutritional and organoleptic characteristics-as a result of invasive processing that alters its nature. Mineral water in turn cannot be compared to milk, for logical and legal reasons. Although it has also come to that (!).

Thus, the reality is far removed from the paradigms of the proposed commercial communication on various foods, whose censorship is therefore sought. The occasion will be good for the Guarantor Authority to recall the need for fair and correct business practices, which must always come with clarity and transparency of messages. All the more so in a historical period such as the present, where confusion about the role and nutritional value of food can lead to purchasing and consumption choices that are incompatible with public health needs. With serious impact on the dietary balance that public and private operators should instead help promote.

A general consideration is added, the need to identify products in their authentic meaning and value. Shunning false neologisms that misrepresent reality with abuse on consumers’ spontaneous trust in the communication tools they are inevitably exposed to in their daily lives. A trust that the Authority has the primary role of protecting, as it will hopefully do in these cases as well.

An Antitrust ruling is therefore eagerly awaited , including by Associations representing consumers, awaiting unambiguous guidelines on the propriety of recalls to various categories of traditional foods. This was recently expressed by the EU Court of Justice, in affirming the illegality of the so-called. Cheese sounding. (2) And the European Parliament took action, to curb the phenomenon of so-called Meat sounding.

The time has come for clarity, once and for all!

Dario Dongo


1) Legislative Decree. 206/05, implementation of Directive 29/2005/EC

2) For details, and the text of the ruling 14.6.17, see the article’cheese-sounding’-the-court-of-justice-eu-confirms-the-prohibition