On 12.5.22 theAntitrust has stigmatized one of the many conflicts of interest hatched by Coldiretti, as regards the genetics of heavy pigs destined for PDO hams.
It is the (seasonal) icing on the cake of a dysfunctional supply chain, where private interests have taken precedence over compliance with the rules in force. #Clean shovels.
1) Antitrust, the previous censorship of conflicts of interest (2013)
The Guarantor Authority for Competition and the Market (AGCM, Antitrust) - with the report in question, addressed to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policies (MiPAAF) - returns to a topic, animal reproduction, already addressed by the same in 2013. (2 )
Law 287/90 in fact, it attributes to the AGCM the power to report distorting situations deriving from laws and administrative acts to the Parliament and to the President of the CdM - or to the latter and to the competent ministers (if necessary also to the local authorities concerned). (3)
1.1) Animal reproduction, distortion of competition
The decision 28.3.13 of the AGCM had already contested the law 30/1991, with specific reference to the pig sector. Due to the obvious conflicts of interest in the hands of ANAS (National Association of Pig Breeders). Which had assumed the dual role of:
- 'controlling body ', delegated to establish and manage herd books,
- 'controlled operator', through its own subsidiary, GEN.I, which developed and marketed pig genetic lines in competition with other operators. (2)
1.2) ANAS, the double game
ANAS, in its dual public and private role:
- 'he accessed strategic information relating to the commercial policies of competitors, which he could use to benefit his subsidiary’,
- 'benefited from public funding with which it could subsidize the activities of GEN.I., favoring it over its competitors’,
- 'coordinated, through its representatives who 'had an important role within the Consortia', vigilance'on the correct application of the production regulations for PDO / PGI pig products'. (2)
1.3) Pig genetics for PDO hams, the incision continues
The protection consortia of PDO hams - so concluded the Antitrust - 'they were not characterized, as required, by the requisites of impartiality and independence'. And the Ministry of Agricultural Policies should have corrected this serious distortion by entrusting the public functions of keeping and managing the herd books to 'independent subjects, with no joint interests with the reference market', to be chosen through'public procedure'.
The MiPAAF Coldiretto however, instead of following the Antitrust decision 26.3.13, he did the exact opposite. With Ministerial Decree 5.12.19 which confirmed the role of ANAS and also attributed to CREA (Council for Research in Agriculture and Analysis of Agricultural Economics) the tasks of 'judging' the admissibility of swine genetics to be used in PDO products, IGP. (4) Under the de facto control of Coldiretti's magic circle.
2) Unfair competition and market distortion
The MiPAAF decree 5.12.19 has therefore renewed the basis so that ANAS can exclude 'in public name'the genetic types of pigs that compete with those it markets itself. In addition to unfair competition, there is a serious distortion of the market which damages pig farmers, slaughterhouses and the cured meat industry. In addition to the entire system of PDO and PGI based on the use of pork. (5)
The supply chain Among other things, pork PDO products are experiencing a very critical period. The CUN (Single National Commission) of mysteries continues to work on the basis of lacking and inconsistent data, as regards the numbers and classification of pigs slaughtered every week (6,7). In the meantime, the Consortia of Parma and San Daniele have imposed rigorous regulations and obtained exceptions to their application. (8)
3) Antitrust, the new censorship (2022)
THEAntitrust has returned to deal with the conflicts of interest already addressed in 2013. Noting that they have never been resolved. On the contrary, Legislative Decree 52/2018 on the discipline of animal reproduction established that:
1) '[...] the national breeders associations and public bodies that keep the herd books and registry registers, as well as the holders of already recognized hybrid pig breeding registers, adapt their technical and organizational requirements to the parameters required by article 3, paragraph 3,
2) the Disciplinary Regulations, as per Law 30/1991 of Herd Books and Registry Registers, as well as the Hybrid Breeding Pig Registers, already approved, are considered as approved breeding programs pursuant to Regulation (EU) no. 2016/1012,
3) the subjects who carry out checks on the productive aptitudes of animals on the basis of regulations already approved by the Ministry are subjects recognized pursuant to article 4, paragraph 2 '.
3.1) New process of admission of genetic types in the PDO and PGI circuits
The Ministerial Decree MiPAAF 5.12.19 'it then revised the system for verifying the genetic types of pigs that can be used in the PDO / PGI circuit '. The new procedure worsens the impact of the conflicts of interest already censored by the Antitrust, introducing a new admission procedure for genetic types which is structured as follows:
- the genetic houses active in Italy, 'although they have already been part of the PDO / PGI production circuit for some time', must submit specific questions and communicate a series of information to ANAS,
- ANAS then transmits i dossier to CREA, so that it can express its opinion on the conformity of the various genetic types for PDO / PGI purposes,
- the MiPAAFon the basis of the assessments made by CREA, it adopts the acceptance or rejection measures.
3.2) ANAS, monopoly. Hog-opoly
The only genetic home not subject toprocess above is ANAS, since 'i genetic types referred to in the Italian Herd Book of the Swine Species are considered suitable a priori' by the specifications of the PDO / PGI'. 25 out of 29 genetic types of pigs submitted to an application for admission by private genetic houses - which 'they make up the entire commercial portfolio of various relevant players which until now have been regularly operating in Italy'- were instead excluded, between February and March 2022.
The 'rejected' genetic types from MiPAAF, please note, 'up to now they have represented (in value / volume) the great majority of those used in the PDO / PGI circuit, which consequently will be fed almost exclusively by the genetic types produced in the context of the selection programs managed by ANAS (which could, in in this way, significantly increase its share, until it reaches a position of quasi-monopoly on the market). ' (1) Hog-opoly, the monopoly on pig genetics.
3.3) Conclusions of the AGCM
'The current regulation sector on the subject of controls and evaluations of genetic types of hybrid pigs for PDO / PGI purposes, contained in MIPAAF Decree no. 12390 in question, appears completely unsuitable to guarantee that the exercise of these functions of a public nature takes place in compliance with the principles of competition and equal treatment between the various genetic companies operating on the market.. ' (1)
It is configured once again an inadmissible distortion of competition and of the correct functioning of the market, not justified by reasons of general interest. The Antitrust has therefore notified the MiPAAF 'to communicate, within 45 days of receipt of this report, the decisions taken with regard to the competitive criticalities highlighted. ' (1)
4) Data and controls, absolute darkness
ICQRF - after highlighting 'repeated violations of the Control Plan'of Parma ham PDO, with particular regard to the classification of pig carcasses - had suspended the certification body in charge of this from this appointment, with DM 20.1.22. (9)
The ministry however, it has not yet started, with a public tender procedure, the assignment for the control of the classification of pig carcasses. And the slaughterhouses that work with PDO Parma ham have been operating in the dark for 30 months now.
4.1) CUN pigs, the big pig
The chart The annex highlights, in the red boxes, the criticalities that emerge from the comparison of public data on the basis of which the Single National Commission (CUN) for pigs should negotiate the prices of their carcasses every week.
The classification data (see table, CM columns) have always presented illegal alterations since some slaughterhouses, as already reported, conceal peak demand in their favor. With reporting delays that sometimes reach 20 consecutive days, as has also been seen. (10)
4.2) RIFT laundry, reduced price
Even the RIFT data (see table, OV columns), in 2022, are distinguished by substantial shortcomings then 'updated' with a week delay. As happened in the weeks 15,16 / 2022 when there was a reversal of the trend in the fatty pig market, not by chance contested by the agricultural commissioners. (11)
Another aberration of the system is evident in column V. The classified pigs should always be a few thousand higher than the RIFT data of the same week, since all the PDO pigs must be classified, as well as non-PDO pigs (Italian and foreign) slaughtered in the slaughterhouses that operate in the system. Instead, their number is less.
4.3) Provisional conclusions
The ICQRF inspectors have already noted that 'the data on the slaughter yield were obtained from the enterprise.gov portal on which the slaughtering operations (including weight) are recorded'. Mathose data are not reliable', so long as 'the file with which they are sent can be altered by the slaughterhouse before sending'. It's still,
'comparing the slaughtering yields recorded on theimpresa.gov portal with those on the Csqa / Ifcq Rift portal, there would be significant differences, at least until December 2021'.
The only solution to this serious criticality that afflicts the weak party in the contractual relationship, the pig farmers, is to introduce a computer system where to collect data in real time and enter them in an unchangeable and incorruptible register, based on a blockchain public. (12) The writer, who has always been attentive to transparency on the market and the protection of primary production, will be happy to make the source code of Wiise Chain, to favor this virtuous path with the guarantee of the protocol Bitcoin. (13)
Footnotes to the story
(1) Competition and Market Authority (AGCM, Antitrust). AS1837 - Procedures for the admission and control of the genetic types of pigs indicated in the PDO and PGI specifications. 12.5.22. On Bulletin 20/2022, pages 52-57, https://www.agcm.it/dotcmsdoc/bollettini/2022/20-22.pdf
(2) Antitrust. AS 1036 - Discipline of animal production. Decision 20.3.13, in Bulletin of 20 March 2013, publ. in Bull 13/2013, pages 20-22, https://bit.ly/3MOjaUN
(3) Law 10.10.90, n. 287. Rules for the protection of competition and the market. See art. 21. Text updated to 14.12.21 on the AGCM website, https://bit.ly/3MHjbKj
(4) MiPAAF. Ministerial Decree 5.12.19 n. 12390. Conformity requirements of the genetic type used for the reproduction of pigs used in the PDO circuit. https://bit.ly/3MHM8pl
(5) See par. 2.4 in the previous article Parma and San Daniele PDO hams, high yield or superior quality? The great chaos. 28.8.21,
(6) Dario Dongo. CUN pigs, the price is not (yet) right. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 24.2.21/XNUMX/XNUMX,
(7) Martha Strinati. Pig market, mystery about the classification of PDO carcasses. GIFTS (Great Italian Food Trade). 11.3.21/XNUMX/XNUMX,
(8) Dario Dongo. Prosciutto di Parma and San Daniele PDO, temporary change to the specifications and darkness on the data. GIFTS (Great Italian Food Trade). 6.1.22/XNUMX/XNUMX,
(9) ICQRF. Suspension of the authorization granted to CSQA Certificazioni Srl to carry out the control functions provided for by articles 36 and 37 of the EU Reg. No. 1151/2012 for the production of 'Prosciutto di Parma DOP'. 21.2.22, https://bit.ly/3QhxEzv
(10) Dario Dongo. CUN pigs, the boycott of slaughterers gathered in Assica. GIFTS (Great Italian Food Trade). 14.7.21/XNUMX/XNUMX,
(11) In some weeks the unreal data are published on Tuesdays on the site of Theseus, only to be corrected at the last minute. In another week the data was presented in an incorrect time sequence, so as to make a trend appear positive instead of negative
(12) Dario Dongo. An electronic commodity exchange to promote transparency and fairness in the food supply chain. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 8.3.21/XNUMX/XNUMX,
(12) Dario Dongo. Agri-food blockchain, from Walmart to the FDA in the USA, Wiise Chain in Italy. To the Web 3. GIFTS (Great Italian Food Trade). two.
Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.