Pernigotti and relocation, the reasons for Made in

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The recent case Pernigotti – historic Italian brand bought by Turkish imPRENDItors to relocate its production (1) – restores topicality to the theme of ‘
Made in
‘. It is imperative and urgent to apply the EU rules that are already in place, although disapplied, and extend their scope. So that consumers can always know the country of originof all food products marketed in Europe.

Origin of food, the rules in place

The country of origin of the goods the making of which took place in different national territories identifies the one where the product underwent its last substantial processing. (2)

Food products do not escape this general rule. Regulation (EU) no. 1169/11, c.d. ‘
Food Information Regulation
‘ (FIR), indeed specifies that ‘
the country of origin of a food refers to the
origin of that product, as defined in accordance with Articles 23 to 26 of Regulation (EEC) No. 2913/92.’ (3)





The indication of the country of


‘origin

or place of origin is mandatory:

a) In case theomission of such indication may mislead the consumer as to the country dactual origin or place of origin of thefood, particularly if the information accompanying thefood or contained in thelabel as a whole might otherwise suggest that thefood has a different country dorigin or place of origin;

b)
for meat of the Combined Nomenclature (CN) codes listed in the
Annex XI. L
Application of this letter is subject to the

‘ adoption of the implementing acts referred to in paragraph 8’
.(4)



When the country d





origin or place of provenance


of a food is indicated and is not the same as that of its primary ingredient:

a)
the country d

origin or place of origin of that primary ingredient; or

b)
the country d

origin or the place of origin of the

primary ingredient is indicated as being different from that of the

food
.’ (5)


The European Commission
has clarified the obligation to indicate on the label the ”
Made in
‘ whenever consumers may be misled about the actual origin of food products. Even in the event that it is precisely the trademark that evokes-in words and sounds, rather than in images and symbols-a country other than the one where the food was produced. (6)


In all cases of ‘

Italian sounding


, the operator responsible for consumer information (7) therefore has a duty to state the country of last processing of the food on the label. Thus for example, ‘
Pernigotti spreadable cream – made in Turkey
‘. The same applies to all references with the Perugina and Buitoni (Nestlé), Algida (Unilever), Bertolli (Deoleo) brands-and how many others, of ‘Italian soundness’-that were not produced in Italy.

Italian sounding. Violations of law, lack of control, impunity


The obligation to indicate ‘


Made in



– in the only hypotheses of its false suggestion through a trademark – is therefore worth ensuring the correct application of Regulation (EU) No. 1169/11, which applies from 13.12.14 and innovated the previous regulations in this respect. (8)

Indeed, it innovated in line with the duties of clarity and transparency of consumer information already stipulated in the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive. (9)



Food information does not mislead


(…)
with regard to the characteristics of thefood and, in particular, the nature, the‘identityà, the propertiesà, the composition, the amountà, the shelf life, the country d‘origin o the place of origin, the method of manufacture or production‘ (reg. EU 1169/11, Article 7.1.a,
Fair information practices
)


The authorities
d
i

control
therefore have a duty to apply sanctions in all cases in which food not produced in Italy is marketed with brands suggestive of Italian-ness, without showing the country of origin on the label. Controls and sanctions are due, in Italy as in other EU countries, to protect ‘
Made in Italy
‘ as well as of ‘
Made in France
‘ etc. But there is no voice for it; impunity reigns supreme.


Minister

Gian Maria Centinaio
must take matters into his own hands and command the ICQRF to take action. Recalling that any violation on content and manner of indication of country of origin or place of provenance shall be punished with an administrative penalty of €2,000 to €16,000, ‘
unless the act constitutes a crime
‘ (d.lgs. 231/17, Article 13).



Made in


, the new rules needed


European consumers
have the full right to know the origin of food products, as well as the provenance of their primary ingredients. They have the right not to be deceived about theorigin and provenance of food, as is still the case everywhere, in the culpable inaction of the control authorities of united Europe.


The globalization
of
commodities
– which finance capital aims to extend to every foodstuff and commodity of some sort – thus encounters a limitation in the need of consumAtors to know where what food comes from, from what raw material, under what rules. And the country of origin is the first identifying element of a culture that encompasses a number of inescapable values, not the least of which are workers’ rights, environmental protection, and theintegrity of the supply chain. In a word, sustainability.


La

location of the establishment
must be indicated on the labels of all food products placed on the Internal Market, without ifs and buts. For the aforementioned reasons, and even before that to ensure the effectiveness of corrective actions that are necessary in the event of food safety hazards. (10)

Representatives of the food supply chain in Italy – from primary agricultural production to consumers–must therefore take steps to ensure that this obligation is introduced, when reforming the ‘General Food Law,’ as an indispensable element to supplement the bland food traceability requirements introduced in Europe as of 1.1.2005. (11) The time is ripe for Coldiretti itself, the leading agricultural confederation in Europe, to pursue this initiative as a complement to the – equally valuable – ‘EatORIGINal! Unmask your food‘.

Dario Dongo

Notes

(1) For a lucid analysis of the Pernigotti affair, we refer to the valuable writings of our friend Attilio Barbieri, ‘the housewife of Voghera ,at https://www.ilcasalingodivoghera.it/i-turchi-vogliono-portarci-via-il-cioccolato-pernigotti-dobbiamo-fermarli/,https://www.ilcasalingodivoghera.it/ce-poco-da-festeggiare-pernigotti-sara-fatta-a-pezzi-e-il-grosso-andra-in-turchia/

(2) The EU Customs Code provides that ”Goods to the production of which two or more countries or territories contribute shall be deemed to originate in the country or territory where they underwent their last substantial and economically justified processing or working, carried out at an enterprise equipped for that purpose, which resulted in the manufacture of a new product or was an important stage in the manufacturing process‘ (reg. EU 450/08,art. 60.2. So already the EEC reg.no. 2913/92as amended, Articles 23-26). In line with what was established in the founding treaty of the WTO (World Trade Organization, otherwise known as the WTO,
World Trade Organization
)

(3) Cf. reg. EU 1169/11, Article 2.3

(4) Regulation (EU) no. 1169/11, Article 26, paragraph 2

(5)See reg. EU 1169/11, Art. 26(3). The European Commission, in agreement with the European Parliament and the Council, implemented these predictions with the disgraceful regulation ‘Origin Planet Earth‘, OPT (reg. EU 2018/775)

(6) See response 27.2.15 by Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis to written question by Hon. Elisabetta Gardini. See the article https://www.foodagriculturerequirements.com/archivio-notizie/europa-obbligo-di-indicare-il-paese-d-origine-sui-prodotti-italian-sounding

(7) According to EU Regulation 1169/11, Article 8, the primary responsibility on completeness and correctness of consumer information falls on the operator who owns or otherwise manages the brand under which the product is marketed. Notwithstanding, in any case, the concurrent liability of the distributor

(8) Directive 2000/13/EC, repealed on Dec. 13, 2014 by Reg. EU 1169/11, in fact limited the obligation to indicate ‘place of origin or place of provenance, where the omission of such indication may mislead the consumer as to the actual origin or provenance of the foodstuff‘ (dir. 2000/13/EC, Art. 3.8). Without referring, as instead specified by the FIR regulations now in force, to the hypothesis in which ”
The information accompanying the

food or contained in the

label as a whole might otherwise suggest that the

food has a different country of

origin or place of provenance
‘ (EU Reg. 1169/11, Art. 26.2)

(9) Minister Gian Maria Centinaio should also call out the ICQRF for unacceptable starvation in the case of ‘lowland alpine milk’. See previous article https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/idee/latte-alpino-falso-relazioni-pericolose

(10) Cf. reg. EC 178/02, Article 19

(11) V. reg. EC 178/02, Article 18

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