Tomato origin, the summer fake news


Is the tomato origin decree finally in force in Italy? It is the most popular summer fake news in the food industry, without a doubt. Here’s why.

Tomato origin, the outlawed decree

The Italian ‘red’ supply chain has long since reached a solemn agreement. Processors, in the North as well as in the South, are willing to indicate on the label the origin of the tomatoes used in all Made in Italy preserves destined for the domestic market. As Coldiretti has been preaching for years, waving the bogeyman of Chinese pummarola.

The Gentiloni circus

, ten days before he was driven out by the voters, had a decree published in the Gazette that looked like

Introduce mandatory labeling Of the origin of tomatoes in canned goods.

The decree, however, is illegitimate

, since the then-signatory ministers –

Maurizio Martina and Carlo Calenda

deliberately omitted its prior notification

To the European Commission. Notification, on the other hand, which is due and is the conditio sine qua non to be able to apply any technical standards issued by member states. (1)

Administrative authorities and judicial, according to established EU case law, therefore have a duty to disapply such legislation. (2) As well as the other decrees on the origin of pasta, rice, milk and d.lgs. 145/17 on the location of the plant. Precisely because these measures, despite their only apparent force, are in substantial conflict with EU law.

Origin, the real issue to be addressed

want the origin of the tomato on the labels of every canning made in Italy. Those who grow and those who process, distributors as well as consumers. And so it is that Italian canning industries have decided to apply the information requirements of the interministerial decree, without even caring whether it is unlawful because it conflicts with European rules.

However, it is useful to clarify that labeling the origin of the tomatoes used in the relevant preserves remains optional, and not mandatory as many insist on telling. Because precisely, the Ministerial Decree 16.11.17, Indication of Origin on Tomato Labels, is unlawful and cannot be enforced against those who, if any, decide not to provide the information stipulated therein.

The real issue that needs to be addressed, however, has quite a different scope, as it relates to whether mandatory origin labeling of raw materials should be introduced across Europe on a wide range of food products. Origin serves not only the ‘reds,’ but the generality of raw materials on:

– single-ingredient foods (Ex. cereals, legumes, juices),

products with a primary ingredient, i.e., accounting for 50 percent or more of the total,

Foods containing meat, milk and their derivatives.

The labeling of origin should be imposed at the EU level-and not nationally-on all of the above products. Based on the

Food Information Regulation


reg. EU 1169/11) and consumer expectations. And being extended to some foods served by communities, such as meat in restaurants.

The European Commission led by Jean-Claude Juncker, however, remains anchored to the interests of Big Food in the diametrically opposite direction. (3) And it stubbornly fails to meet the demands for transparency on labels, repeatedly expressed by the European Parliament in special resolutions. (4)

The regulations

Origin Planet Earth


reg. EU 2018/775, is a striking example of the willingness to keep the origin of the primary ingredient a secret. It was approved without reservation by

Paolo Gentiloni

, as by Italian MEPs


None of the self-styled champions of Made in Italy and transparency on the label – nor Coldirettinor the cooperative system, nor consumer associations – joined the proposal


Great Italian Food Trade

to appeal this obscene regulation to the Luxembourg Tribunal.

Tomato origin, the shared fake news

The fake news about the theoretical force of the ministerial decree on the origin of tomatoes persists on the MiPAAF website, now MiPAAFT. It was taken up on the website of the current minister Gian Marco Centinaio as well as from news agencies(ANSA and AGI), from Coldiretti and from Sole 24 Ore, the Confindustria newspaper.


fake news

was also reported by Milena Gabanelli

In the Corriere della Sera, last June. And from OtherConsumer, in late August. And so by various authoritative trade journals. No one took care to carry out an estimate fact checking. (5)

Widespread complacency, however, is not enough to make true what is instead false. Only to confirm the superficiality-or bad faith-of those who are supposed to represent collective interests. And the unreliability of the media in Italy, on every level.

Dario Dongo


(1) See dir. 2015/1535/EU, reg. EU 1169/11

(2) See ‘Fratelli Costanzo’ judgment (Case C-103/88, paragraphs 31-33), EU Court of Justice

(3) See


(4) See articles


(5) The verification of prior notification to Brussels of national technical standards is actually quite simple. Noting that the European Commission maintains a regularly updated public register of notifications received from member states, and the status of related procedures