Commission Demands Italy Drop Law On Poultry Labelling

UK - Italy's compulsory law requiring poultry meat and related products to carry country-of-origin labelling has been deemed illegal by the European Commission.
calendar icon 24 July 2007
clock icon 2 minute read
The law on poultry is one of a series of regulatory measures by Italy that has raised questions about whether the country is using the EU's food safety regulators to batter down foreign competition.

The law in essence pushed Italy's processors to source their poultry from the country's producers. Processors generally source their ingredients from the cheapest country.

Italy has a history of using country-of-origin labelling laws as a means of instilling food patriotism among consumers, and to give its producers an advantange. The Commission decision foreshadows further action on similar legislation in Italy and in other countries.

Under legislation adopted in August 2005, Italian producers and the first recipients of poultry meat are obliged to indicate the member state of origin of the meat. The labelling must also state the date of import for poultry meat and products coming from other member states and non-EU countries.

"This measure contravenes EU rules on food labelling and the marketing of poultry, and could cause market discrimination and hamper the internal market and other trade," the Commission stated in announcing the decision.

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