Italy Strengthens Sanctions for Olive Oil Fraud

The Italian government approved modifications to a draft legislative decree which would have decriminalized penalties for counterfeiting. The new measure provides for new administrative sanctions and introduces a system of traceability.

By Ylenia Granitto
May. 16, 2016 12:27 UTC

The Council of Ministers approved a decree con­tain­ing pro­vi­sions on sanc­tions for the vio­la­tion of EU Regulation No. 29/2012 con­cern­ing the mar­ket­ing stan­dards for olive oil, and EEC Regulation No. 2568/91 on the char­ac­ter­is­tics of olive oils and olive-pomace oil and on rel­e­vant meth­ods.

We are sat­is­fied that the Government rec­ti­fied the decree and con­firmed the crim­i­nal charges intro­duced by the save oil’ law.- Colomba Mongiello

With this val­i­da­tion, the gov­ern­ment imple­mented mod­i­fi­ca­tions that the Agriculture and Justice Committees pro­vided to a draft leg­isla­tive decree in December that would have down­graded penal­ties for coun­ter­feit­ing of olive oil and which caused con­cern among Italian farm­ers and con­sumers.

The action com­pleted the mea­sures laid down by Law no 9 of January 14, 2013 (the so-called save oil’ law) and includes, accord­ing to a gov­ern­ment state­ment, admin­is­tra­tive penal­ties for fail­ing to dis­play an indi­ca­tion of ori­gin and other infor­ma­tion which must vis­i­bly appear on the pack­ag­ing.

Administrative penal­ties were also intro­duced for the irreg­u­lar keep­ing of stock records. The gov­ern­ment clar­i­fied that the admin­is­tra­tive sanc­tion inter­ven­tion area is still con­fined to the sec­tor not cov­ered by the crim­i­nal law, to which is reserved the repres­sion of any kind of food fraud.”

The impo­si­tion of the sanc­tions pro­vided by the decree is entrusted to the Central Inspectorate for the pro­tec­tion of qual­ity and fraud repres­sion of food prod­ucts (ICQRF) of the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies, and the com­pe­ten­cies assigned under cur­rent leg­is­la­tion to the author­i­ties respon­si­ble for the ascer­tain­ment of breaches remain unchanged.

The decree ful­fills a legal frame­work that imple­ments a trace­abil­ity sys­tem, indis­pens­able for the fight against frauds in the olive oil sec­tor.

We are sat­is­fied that the Government has rec­ti­fied the decree and con­firmed the crim­i­nal charges intro­duced by the save oil’ law,” said the vice pres­i­dent of the Parliamentary Commission on the Phenomena of Counterfeiting and Piracy, Colomba Mongiello, who pointed out the strate­gic impor­tance of olive oil sec­tor and made in Italy agribusi­ness.

Consumer asso­ci­a­tions appre­ci­ated the mea­sure: We have at last obtained a sys­tem of sanc­tions, aimed at the truth­ful­ness of the infor­ma­tion on the label, which gives greater guar­an­tees. The pro­tec­tion of the Italian green gold is crit­i­cal to safe­guard­ing the sup­ply chain and con­sumer,” said Matteo Pennacchia, of the con­sumer group Codici.


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