`After Bruising Season, Italy Combats Fraud and Invests in its Future

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After Bruising Season, Italy Combats Fraud and Invests in its Future

Jan. 27, 2015
Alfonso De Lucia

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On Jan­u­ary 21, the Ital­ian min­is­ter of agri­cul­ture, Mau­r­izio Mar­tina, orga­nized a meet­ing to take stock of the sit­u­a­tion in the Ital­ian olive oil sec­tor, for which 2014 was a dis­as­trous year.

The meet­ing was also attended by the regional com­mis­sion­ers for agri­cul­ture and the main stake­hold­ers of the Ital­ian olive oil sup­ply chain.

One of the objec­tives of the meet­ing was to define a long-term strat­egy against coun­ter­feit Made in Italy” oil and strengthen inter­ven­tions,” or the finan­cial resources to sup­port pro­duc­ers.

The Cen­tral Inspec­torate for the pro­tec­tion of qual­ity and fraud pre­ven­tion of food prod­ucts (ICQRF) has been work­ing to carry out con­trols at all Ital­ian ports to track trans­fers to pro­duc­tion plants and, all the way to the points of dis­tri­b­u­tion and sale, the min­is­ter reported.

ICQRF uses advanced chem­i­cal lab­o­ra­to­ries to ana­lyze oils through offi­cial Euro­pean pan­els. The Finan­cial Police, the For­est Guard and the anti-adul­ter­ation unit of Cara­binieri are involved in anti-fraud con­trols.

The min­istry’s report on the 2014 oil cam­paign said there were 452 irreg­u­lar” oper­a­tors out of 4,114 checked.

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6,004 prod­ucts were checked, 569 (9 per­cent) of which were found to be against reg­u­la­tion; 1,195 sam­ples were ana­lyzed, 66 (6 per­cent) of which were declared as irreg­u­lar.

There were 140 admin­is­tra­tive penal­ties levied, and 122 seizures which had a total value of €9,778,000 ($11,132,302).

In order to sup­port the olive grow­ers, in Octo­ber 2014 Europe approved €1.4 bil­lion for dam­ages caused by the pests and bad weather dur­ing the annus hor­ri­bilis,” as the 2014 har­vest is often called here, includ­ing €100 mil­lion ($114 mil­lion) over the next three years to Ital­ian pro­ducer orga­ni­za­tions.

The min­is­ter also allo­cated yearly incre­ments of €70 mil­lion ($79.7 mil­lion) until 2020 to improve the yield and qual­ity of Ital­ian olive groves.

There were pos­i­tive com­ments from the meet­ing par­tic­i­pants, the most impor­tant of which were Assi­tol (the Ital­ian asso­ci­a­tion for the olive oil indus­try) and Federo­lio (the national fed­er­a­tion of oil traders).

On a joint state­ment Assi­tol pres­i­dent Gio­vanni Zuc­chi and Federo­lio pres­i­dent Giuseppe Mas­turzo said: We are very sat­is­fied with the ini­tia­tive of Min­is­ter Mar­tina thanks to whom, for the first time in many years, an impor­tant goal of Assi­tol and Federo­lio has been achieved: bring­ing together around a table all the play­ers in the Ital­ian olive oil sup­ply chain to dis­cuss how to re-estab­lish and re-launch a core sec­tor for the Ital­ian agri­cul­ture and the entire econ­omy.”

Each of the stake­hold­ers can make a valu­able con­tri­bu­tion to the def­i­n­i­tion of a new oil sup­ply chain agree­ment,” Zuc­chi and Mas­turzo added. Thus pro­mot­ing a deep trans­for­ma­tion of the oil sec­tor, by using new resources, and improv­ing the com­pet­i­tive­ness of olive grow­ing, the mod­ern­iza­tion of oil pro­duc­tion and the pro­tec­tion of its qual­ity. Actu­ally, these are the major issues on which we will play the future of the Ital­ian oil indus­try.”


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