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Allegrini 2018
TRANSPARENCY ON THE TABLE

The Simplification decree cancels the “State Secret” on foreign foods

Names of companies that import food will be made known, as they cause 84% of health alarms in Italy. Coldiretti: historic result
Coldiretti, FOOD, TRANSPARENCY, News
The Simplification decree cancels the “State Secret” on foreign foods

The “State Secret” on foreign foods arriving in Italy has been eliminated. Therefore, it will be possible to know the names of the companies that import food from abroad, which created a phenomenon that caused 84% of the health alarms in Italy in 2019. Coldiretti, the Italian farmers association, announced this in reference to the measure included in the Simplification Decree upon which the Government gave its vote of confidence to Parliament, which finally guarantees maximum transparency on agri-foods coming into the country.
The decree, Coldiretti points out, requires the Ministry of Health to publish, every six months, and make available on the website in the “Transparent Administration” section, all data relating to food, fodder and animals intended for consumption arriving from EU and non-EU countries. Further, the identification data “of the employees who have carried out the entry, exit and deposit operations of the aforementioned products” will also be revealed.
Consequently, all citizens will be able to readily access information relating to the real origin of the products they bring to the table. This is, explained Coldiretti, a historic result, which has been achieved thanks to the battle for transparency that the main European agricultural organization has been fighting for years, so that consumers will have the correct information on what they eat. The purpose of the measure is to distinguish the true Made in Italy products and guarantee informed purchase choices.
“Canceling out the State Secret”, confirmed the president of Coldiretti, Ettore Prandini, “has created a legal situation which will allow all-Italian agricultural supply chains to continue to develop, as they have been hindered by unfair competition from foreign and national companies, which, through brands, distinctive signs and advertising, illegitimately appropriate the Italian identity of agri-food products”.
This is an important measure that stands alongside mandatory labeling that is in force in Italy for many products, and which Coldiretti is asking to extend throughout the EU to all agri-food. The measure, which had been opposed for years by the fierce lobbies, has broken down a historic wall and put an end to passing off foreign products as Italian. It also provides for much quicker interventions in the case of food alarms that cause serious disruptions on the market as well as anxiety and concern in consumers that do not have the possibility of knowing the origin of the foods.
In 2019, in Italy, more than one food alarm a day was reported. There were a total of 371 notifications sent to the European Union, of which only 58 (16%) were relative to products of national origin, while 162 came from other countries of the European Union (43%) and 151 from non-EU countries (41%), according to a study by Coldiretti carried out on data from the RASSF. That is to say, in other words, over four out of five products that are dangerous for food safety come from abroad (84%). The biggest issues, in these cases, concluded Coldiretti, are determined specifically by the difficulty of quickly identifying and tracing products at risk to remove them from the market. This causes a drop in confidence, which causes a general cut in consumption and it has often unfairly put entire economic sectors in great difficulty, and consequently, loss of jobs.

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