The new coming to the shelf


At the concert of ‘Sounding‘ and the Free from – between vegan foods and superfood, insects e Novel Foods, new GMOs e synthetic biology – the new coming to the shelf. In the substantial lack of rules that are harmonized as well as suitable for the purposes of ensuring
food safety


consumer information


Cheese sounding, Milk sounding, Meat sounding. Between neologisms and deceptions, Europe




stimulates more and more neologisms, to identify categories of new products that while expressing the evolution of consumption, at the same time mystify the authentic meaning of foods whose history dates back to the Neolithic


Cheese sounding. The EU Court of Justice, 14.6.17, reiterated the illegality of any references to cheese-and dairy products in general-on labels and advertisements for foods made with different ingredients, such as plant-based foods. This pronouncement was made possible by the presence of a regulation, on the Common Market Organization, (1) which accurately defines what is meant in Europe by milk, yogurt and cheese. Therefore, excluding soy, oat, and rice products from this scope,



Milk sounding. Recalling the case of the Cheese sounding, Great Italian Food Trade has reported to the Advertising Self-Discipline Institute (IAP) and to the Competition and Market Authority (Antitrust), in fall 2017, five cases of wrongful evocation milk. In relation to products – such as Galatine candies (Sperlari).
, the melted cheese ‘Slices of Milk’


), ‘milk sandwiches’(Morato Pane, Conad)

– which are instead made with an ingredient with quite different characteristics and nutritional properties
, milk powder. In addition to the even more grotesque case of a mineral water (Sangemini), illegitimately compared with milk and yogurt.

Meat sounding
. MEPs Paolo De Castro and Giovanni La Via

have repeatedly questioned Commissioner

Vytenis Andriukaitis

, to ask him to clarify the (il-)legality of the recall of meat and meat products on foods of different origin and nature.

The question appears simple, at first glance. It could already be addressed by strictly applying the regulations that have been in place for almost 40 years now. The name of the food Indeed, it has the specific purpose of enabling the consumer to identify at a glance the individual products on offer. But this is unfortunately not the case because of what follows.

Vegetarian and vegan, insects and novel foods, and new GMOs and synthetic biology. The advancing new

The European Commission

is wilfully neglecting ‘the new advance’ in the old continent’s leading manufacturing sector, which remains precisely the

food & drink

. On both fronts of safety-food and nutrition-and consumer information. Which is receiving more and more news, including the 7-element nutrition statement, but without being able to access some essential information.

Vegetarian and vegan. To date, there is a lack of a legal, EU-harmonized notion of foods presented as suitable To a vegetarian and vegan diet. One solution has been proposed by the European Vegetarian Union and shared by industrial representatives. But Commissioner Andriukaitis postponed the issue until 2019.

Insects and Novel Foods. Insects at the table are already a reality, planet-wide as in several EU member states. This will soon be the case in Italy as well, despite initial resistance To free trade. Pending the implementation of the new regulation on the Novel Foods, (2) which in any case will ensure safety and correct information about ‘new foods’. Either when they contain insect meal, (3) or when they are foods of plant origin without significant consumption experience in Europe pre-1997.

New GMOs. The EU Court of Justice, with the support of several member states and the starvation of the former Italian government, is about to rule on the de-regulation of the new GMO. That is, living organisms subjected to genetic modification by innovative techniques (mutagenesis, rather than transgenesis). This implies that the risk assessment (for the environment and biodiversity, human and animal health) that to date presides over their authorization is no longer required. No more licensing, tracking, labeling.

Synthetic biology. Synthetic biology meanwhile is moving forward, with substantial investments by industrial giants working on growing

in vitro

Of cells somewhat similar to those in meat
. The more sophisticated the process, which no longer moves only from animal cloning-which, moreover, is already widespread and untracked, on the American continent – the more difficult it will be to subject him to appropriate disciplines. (4)

Additional insights

– regarding specifically the evolution of synthetic biology and corresponding regulatory gaps – in thefree ebook ‘

GMOs the Big Scam


The new advancing is proceeding apace, soon if not already on our tables. (5) And the need for rules is compelling.

Dario Dongo


(1) See reg. EU 1308/13, so-called CMO (Common Market Organization).

(2) See reg. EU 2283/15, Novel Foods

(3) To date, insect-based food ingredients encounter pronounced neophobia in populations such as ours, which are distinguished by a rather deep-rooted food culture. It is curious, from this point of view, how revulsion has so far not been expressed toward the use for human nutrition purposes of by-products such as mechanically separated meats, food jellies and collagen, compared to which a cricket meal might come to be regarded as a noble food. Perhaps out of ignorance toward the respective manufacturing processes

(4) In Europe, where to date there is a lack of appropriate regulations on cloning of farm animals, the only legislation that can be relied upon is the new Novel Foods Regulation, reg. EU 2283/15

(5) Even in disguise, such as in the form of microorganisms, to date excluded from the scope of the GMO regulations (EC reg. 1829, 1830/03)