Country Of Origin Labeling With A Twist

The Lempert Report
December 01, 2017

What Italy is up to...?

I’m one of those that was quite upset when we rolled back Country of Origin labeling which finally allowed shoppers to find out where meats and seafood actually came from – and it made a difference as shoppers were able to chose to avoid certain foods from countries that have less than stellar conditions and food safety issues. 

Now there is a new twist. Italian Ag minister Maurizio Martina and Carlo Calenda the minister of economic development are working to extend Italy’s mandatory origin labeling to processed tomatoes and tomato-based products. This is a big deal. 

Earlier this year Italy mandated country of origin labels for pasta and rice on top of their existing label requirements on dairy products. The legislation is to counter competition from imports of tomato puree from China which increased by almost 50% in 2016. 

Just as here in the US there is criticism of the label mandates and how they are in conflict with the European Union’s laws. The working farmers in Italy make the strongest point in favor of the legislation – that mandatory origin labeling will stamp out the practice where many foods marketed and sold as “made in Italy” do not use Italian ingredients and are merely manufactured, packaged or processed in Italy. 

Now if we could just get Italy to mandate this labeling on olive oil….