`Proposal to Go Light on Olive Oil Fraudsters in Italy is Rejected

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Proposal to Go Light on Olive Oil Fraudsters in Italy is Rejected

Mar. 2, 2016
Ylenia Granitto

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The risk that coun­ter­feit­ing olive oil could have been decrim­i­nal­ized’ leav­ing offend­ers free to con­tinue their activ­ity has been averted.

In Mon­tecito­rio, Rome, the seat of the Cham­ber of Deputies, the Agri­cul­ture and Jus­tice Joint Com­mit­tees approved a decree issu­ing sanc­tions for coun­ter­feit­ing of olive oil and its ori­gin, with the pro­posal, unan­i­mously approved, that gives the penal code preva­lence over the admin­is­tra­tive one.

We have raised these con­cerns from the begin­ning and we are sat­is­fied that the pro­tec­tion of our green gold turned out pos­i­tively.- Agri­cul­ture Com­mit­tee Deputy Giuseppe L’Abbate

The two Com­mit­tees pro­posed the mod­i­fi­ca­tion to a draft bill in light of numer­ous protests that rose against the attempt to lighten the penal­ties for those con­victed of fraud. Now, Ital­ian grow­ers and pro­duc­ers hope the decree will be trans­posed by the gov­ern­ment into law.

Com­mer­cial fraud in Italy like mis­la­bel­ing olive oil as Ital­ian when it has a dif­fer­ent ori­gin is a crim­i­nal offense con­demned by arti­cles 515 and 517 of penal code. But in the draft bill titled Lay­ing down rules on penal­ties for the vio­la­tion of the EU Reg­u­la­tion No 29/2012,” offend­ers who do not respect the oblig­a­tion to indi­cate on the label and in the doc­u­ments the des­ig­na­tion of ori­gin, as well as the uneven des­ig­na­tion of ori­gin also using signs, fig­ures or other,” would have been pun­ished only with an admin­is­tra­tive fine.

The arti­cle goes on to intro­duce the admin­is­tra­tive offense when infor­ma­tion dis­played on prod­uct pack­ag­ing appears in sub­sti­tu­tion of the des­ig­na­tion of ori­gin or that can evoke another geo­graph­i­cal ori­gin than indi­cated,” or, in other words, when infor­ma­tion on the label mis­leads con­sumers into believ­ing that the prod­uct is Ital­ian when, in fact, it is not.

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The first change clar­i­fies that any admin­is­tra­tive actions would not pre­clude penal offenses nor inter­fere with crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion through a clause unless the act con­sti­tutes a crime” inserted in the penalty pro­vi­sions.

Agriculture Committee Deputy Giuseppe L’Abbate

The sec­ond change to the bill regards the rein­tro­duc­tion of a sus­pen­sion of up to six months for repeat offend­ers of com­mer­cial fraud dur­ing which com­pa­nies found for a sec­ond time to flout the rules must sus­pend com­mer­cial activ­ity.

We have raised these con­cerns from the begin­ning and we are sat­is­fied that the pro­tec­tion of our green gold turned out pos­i­tively,” said the Five Star Move­ment deputy in the Agri­cul­ture Com­mit­tee Giuseppe L’Abbate. We request the Gov­ern­ment to trans­pose as soon as pos­si­ble these indi­ca­tions within the final decree, to be issued by Octo­ber, so it can be oper­a­tional before the next har­vest­ing sea­son.”


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