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THE REPORT

Food and fraud, in the wine sector almost a third of controls

2021 data from the Central Inspectorate for Quality and Fraud Repression (Icqrf): over 61,000 inspections in Italy, 19,628 in the vineyard and winery
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Food and fraud, in the wine sector almost a third of controls

61,756 anti-fraud checks (of which 49,511 inspections and 12,245 analytical), for more than 33,000 operators checked (with irregularities in 15.9% of cases) and more than 62,000 products verified (with 9% of samples found out of order), for 5.5 million kilos of goods seized (worth 9.1 billion euros) 186 reports of offenses and 4,669 administrative objections. These are the salient numbers of the Operational Activity Report 2021 of the Central Inspectorate for Quality and Fraud Repression (Icqrf), which “confirms itself among the leading anti-fraud authorities in food worldwide”, explains a note from the Ministry of Agriculture. As has been the case for years, wine, the leading sector in agribusiness, was the one that received the most inspections, 19,628, almost 1 in 3, with irregularities detected in 18% of operators and 11% of products, and with seizures of 7.3 billion euros (more than 70% of the total).
Irregularities that, in most cases, were bottling of table wines labeled with untrue designations of DOC and IGT wines, even with an indication of grape variety and vintage; fraudulent marketing of PDO and IGP wines that did not comply with the requirements established by the respective production regulations Adulteration of wine products by watering and/or sugaring; Wines and musts with alcoholic strengths that do not comply with the declared or legal limits; IGT wine products declared to be from organic farming but found by analysis to contain residues of impermissible additives; failure or irregular keeping of cellar records; irregularities in accompanying documents.
There were also many checks on the web and e-commerce, including abroad where the Icqrf, from 2015 to 2021, opened 5,373 interventions, including on the world’s main e-commerce platforms: Alibaba, Ebay, Amazon and Rakuten. In 2021 alone, the Icqrf initiated 955 procedures against usurpations and evocations, which involved not only Italian products (931 cases), but also non-Italian geographical indications (24 cases).
On the web, too, wine is despite itself a protagonist, with Prosecco by far in first place among the objects of intervention (with as many as 1,206, clearly ahead of Parmigiano Reggiano, second, with 538), passing by wine kits, Amarone della Valpolicella, Asti, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and Barolo.

“The battles carried out by the Ministry in the area of counterfeiting and Italian sounding are based on the firm belief that the protection of quality products represents the main tool for enhancing the value of Italian agrifood, supply chains and rendering an indispensable service to the consumer. In this sense”, commented the Minister of Agricultural Policies, Stefano Patuanelli, “a fundamental contribution is made by the Icqrf, which, with the multiple tasks entrusted to it, protects and enhances the made in Italy with interventions against all those fraudulent behaviors that undermine the proper market relations. The report, also this year, shows how it is essential to guarantee our products through an effective system of controls on the national and international territory and on the web, all the more so in such a complicated and difficult historical moment as the one we are going through because of the pandemic first, and the ongoing conflict then, in which we are witnessing unacceptable speculative phenomena. Therefore, total transparency remains the main tool to protect our agri-food system, the quality and excellence that distinguishes it as a guarantee for the markets and all the agents that operate in them”.

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