Origin decrees, Gentiloni circus continues


On the pasta, rice, tomato and milk origin decrees, the Gentiloni circus continues. In a sovereignist-like (or pseudo-populist, or para-whatever) regurgitation, the outgoing government renews the deception of hypothetical vigor of autarkic norms.

Origin of milk, pasta, rice and tomato, today’s extension to ephemeral decrees

The government led by Paolo Gentiloni published four interministerial decrees in 2017 that require mandatory indication of the origin of raw materials on certain categories of prepackaged foods:

1) milk in dairy products. Effective from 19.4.17 to 31.3.19,

2) wheat and semolina in pasta

of wheat only

. Theoretical application from 17.2.18 to 31.12.20,

3) rice. Hypothetically in vogue from 16.2.18 to 31.12.20,

4) canned tomatoes.

, with theoretical effect from 8/26/2018 to 12/31/20.


planned obsolescence

has been the common denominator of the aforementioned measures, as all of them were in any case supposed to lose effectiveness as of the entry into force of the EU regulation on the origin of the primary ingredient

. Vale to say, within the next few weeks.

The May 9, 2018 decree – signed by Paolo Gentiloni, acting minister of agriculture, and Carlo Calenda – extends the effectiveness of the above ephemeral decrees (see attached). Which will no longer lapse from the imminent date of the entry into force of the aforementioned European regulation, but rather from the day before its implementation, set for April 1, 2020.

Origin of pasta, rice and tomato, the decrees inapplicable

The decrees on the origin of pasta, rice and tomatoes, however, are illegitimate, and must therefore be disapplied by the administrative and judicial authorities called upon to enforce them or otherwise rule on them. The reason is simple, these decrees were not notified to the European Commission, as they should have been.

Since the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall , the ‘condominium Europe’ has agreed on the obligation for each ‘condominium-member state’ to provide prior notification to Brussels of any national technical standard outline pertaining to the production and/or marketing of goods, within theTechnical Regulation Information SystemDatabase (TRIS) system. (1)

With specific regard to rules affecting consumer information on food, member states must carry out prior notification under the Food Information Regulation. (2)

Indeed, the European Commission and member states must be able to verify the consistency of draft competing national legislation with applicable EU law, as well as with the principle of free movement of goods in the Internal Market. And that is why draft national technical standards are subject to a standstill period. That is, a period – of three months, which the Commission may decide to extend – of suspension of thelegislative process. And so, of their effectiveness.

In the event of failure to notify the European Commission-as precisely, in the cases of the origin of wheat and semolina in pasta, rice and canned tomatoes-national measures, while formally in force, count as waste paper. Because, according to established European case law, (3) they cannot be opposed to the administered (in this case, food chain companies in Italy) and must instead be disapplied by the authorities. Under penalty of infringement proceedings and serious sanctions against the member state (in this case, the Italian Republic).

Origin, the Gentiloni circus continues

The Gentiloni circus continues-despite what has been pointed out above-in its deception of public administrations, citizens/consumers, sector companies, associations and representations. Untamed, if not by the voters of March 4, 2018, until someone-between Rome and Brussels-says Enough!

Let it be understood, the writer is fully in favor of promoting transparent and complete information about food products, which should include always useful and appreciated news about the origin of foods and their raw materials. But the rules of the Europa condominium must be obeyed at all times and by all, until one has the courage and political will to force change. (4)

Dario Dongo

ANNEX MIPAAF – 7.05.2018


(1) See dir. 83/189/EEC, later replaced by dir. 98/34/EC as amended, most recently repealed by dir. 2015/1535/EU

(2) See reg. EU 1169/11, Article 45

(3) See, on all, the landmark ‘CIA Security International‘ judgments of April 30, 1996 (C-194/94, para. 54) and ‘Ince‘ of February 4, 2016 (C-336/14, para. 67)

(4) This is not the case for Paolo Gentiloni. Which, it is worth mentioning, voted in favor of the European Commission’s regulation where unacceptable exceptions and generalizations were introduced with respect to the obligation set by the EU legislator to specify the origin of the primary ingredient (>50%), when different from ‘Made in‘ declared (EU reg. 1169/11, art. 26.3). We wrote about it, most recently, in https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/etichette/origine-ingrediente-primario-via-libera-da-bruxelles-all-italian-sounding

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