`Decree to 'Decrimanalize' Counterfeit Olive Oil Leads to Protests in Italy - Olive Oil Times

Decree to 'Decrimanalize' Counterfeit Olive Oil Leads to Protests in Italy

Dec. 17, 2015
Ylenia Granitto

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A debate between pro­duc­ers and agri­cul­tural orga­ni­za­tions and the Italian gov­ern­ment is rag­ing over a draft leg­isla­tive decree regard­ing sanc­tions for coun­ter­feit­ing of olive oil and its ori­gin (spec­i­fied by the Regulation of the European Union 29/2012) that is being reviewed by the Agriculture and Justice Committees of the Chamber of Deputies.

According to pro­duc­ers, trade asso­ci­a­tions and indus­try rep­re­sen­ta­tives, the new law would decrim­i­nal­ize the crime of coun­ter­feit­ing. A crim­i­nal offense involv­ing com­mer­cial fraud would result in a sim­ple admin­is­tra­tive sanction.

I will pro­pose to the Committee to audit all the involved parts and this will lead to change the text of draft.- Senator Colomba Mongiello

Thousands of grow­ers are protest­ing the mea­sure which they say threat­ens to under­mine the strug­gle against prod­ucts mas­querad­ing as Italian made.

If the decree is approved, offend­ers who do not respect the oblig­a­tion to indi­cate on the label and in the doc­u­ments of extra vir­gin olive oils and vir­gin olive oil the des­ig­na­tion of ori­gin, as well as the uneven des­ig­na­tion of ori­gin also using signs, fig­ures or other,” will be pun­ished with a fine of from €1,600 to €9,500,” said the draft that aroused the protests this week.

The pres­i­dent of Unaprol, David Granieri urged the min­is­ters cre­at­ing a leg­isla­tive bypass to replace the penal­ties for coun­ter­feit­ing already approved with laws by the Parliament.” 

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The pres­i­dent of Slow Food Italy, Gaetano Pascale, warned it would be a seri­ous mis­take” to decrim­i­nal­ize offenses related to false label­ing of extra vir­gin olive oils. Consumers and hon­est pro­duc­ers,” Pascale said, must be pro­tected with strict rules and with the cer­tainty that the offenses aimed at under­min­ing the trans­parency in the sup­ply chain are also pun­ished under crim­i­nal law.”

The decree does not include any decrim­i­nal­iza­tion on label­ing and indi­ca­tion of ori­gin” of olive oil, said jus­tice min­is­ter Maurizio Martina and agri­cul­ture min­is­ter Andrea Orlando, in a joint state­ment meant to reas­sure that there would not be a step back on the penal­ties pro­vided by the so called save oil” law (or Mongiello Law”, named after the sen­a­tor, Colomba Mongiello, who first signed it into effect). 

The preva­lence of crim­i­nal law will be ensured. It will be gov­ern­men­t’s com­mit­ment,” the two min­is­ters said, to work with the com­pe­tent par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tees to spec­ify and rein­force the pri­macy of crim­i­nal offenses and sanc­tions under the decree, in order to inte­grate and toughen the exist­ing Law and the pro­vi­sions of the Criminal Code.”

I will pro­pose to the Committee to audit all the involved parts and this will lead to change the text of draft,” Mongiello added, and she declared her inten­tion to with­draw the entire mea­sure, or alter­na­tively, to be ready to make pro­por­tion­ally raise the cost of the sanctions.

The leg­isla­tive decree was expected to be approved by early January, but the out­cry from pro­duc­ers could delay the procedure.

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