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Origin of wheat in pasta, the Italian decree notified to Brussels

Origin of the wheat in pasta. Minister Maurizio Martina made a trio with the mandatory labeling of XNUMX cups milk, rice and wheat. And he can play poker by playing the easiest card of all, the origin of the meat in the restaurant. (1)

The decree on the origin of wheat had been the subject of a tug-of-war, in 2016, between the departments for Economic Development and Agricultural Policies. As a result of the cd battle of the grain, which flared up last July.

On 12.5.2017 Italy notified in Brussels the scheme of 'inter-ministerial decree concerning the indication of the origin on the label of durum wheat for durum wheat semolina pasta, in implementation of Regulation (EU) no. 1169/2011, relating to the provision of food information to consumers'(See Annex DM scheme of grain origin_12 May sent to Brux).

Origin of the wheat in pasta, the decree

In the introduction, the Common Customs Code (2) and the EU regulation 1169/11 are recalled, on consumer information relating to food products. The so-called FIR, Food Information Regulation, which is particularly relevant in the two parts where:

- the European Commission has been delegated (3) to present a report on the advisability of extending the mandatory indication of origin to mono-ingredient foods or foods with a primary ingredient (> 50%),

- the Commission has received a mandate to define the information criteria on the provenance of the primary ingredient, when it does not coincide with the declared 'Made in'. (4)

But nothing has been done in Brussels to ensure transparency on the origin of food, notwithstanding the repeated reminders of the European Parliament. And it is therefore that the Member States have taken action in Italy as in France.

Wheat origin labeling

The labels of durum wheat semolina pasta (5) must contain the indications of:

to) 'Wheat cultivation country‘,

b) 'Country of milling', that is to say the one where the durum wheat semolina was obtained (article 2).

In the case of 'grains grown or semolina obtained in several countries'the use of the terms' EU', 'non-EU', 'EU and non-EU' is allowed, as appropriate (Article 3).

With a simplification that will make it possible to enhance the selections made in Italian pasta factories. If the wheat used has been grown for at least 50% in a single national territory, the name of that country can be reported followed by the words 'and other countries ... (' EU, 'non-EU', 'EU and non-EU') .

The wording on the origin of the grain must come 'affixed on the label in an evident point and in the same field of vision (6) in order to be easily visible and clearly legible. They are not in any way hidden, obscured, limited or separated from other written or graphic indications or other elements likely to interfere'(Article 4).

The decree will obviously not apply pasta produced in other Member States in compliance with common standards. And it will cease to be effective on December 30, 2020. (7) As long as it does not fall upon it sooner the ax of the WTO, following the fierce protests of the USA and Canada.

Dario Dongo

Footnotes to the story
(1) The origin of meat in restaurants is the only indisputable provision, as it insists on matters under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Member States
(2) reg. EU 952/13, article 60
(3) reg. EU 1169/11, art. 26.5
(4) That is to say with the origin of the product, which is attributed to the country where it has undergone the last substantial transformation. See reg. EU 1169/11, art. 26.3
(5) The decree applies'to durum wheat pasta referred to in the decree of the President of the Republic February 9, 2001, n. 187, with the exception of the pasta referred to in art. 9 and 12 of the same Presidential Decree 187/2001'
(6) Which field of view, however, is not specified. How it would have been useful for a uniform application of the law. In addition to limiting the arbitrariness of the supervisory bodies
(7) A stratagem already used in the decrees on the origin of milk and rice, to reduce the risk of disputes by the Commission and other Member States

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.

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