`Fourth Report on Agri-Food Crimes in Italy - Olive Oil Times

Fourth Report on Agri-Food Crimes in Italy

Feb. 24, 2016
Ylenia Granitto

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The agri-food sec­tor is a pri­or­ity area of invest­ment for orga­nized crime, with a dan­ger­ous impact not only on the econ­omy but also on the health of cit­i­zens, the envi­ron­ment and the ter­ri­tory of the coun­try, as evi­denced by the fourth report on agri-food crimes in Italy, pre­pared by the Institute for Political, Social and Economic Studies (Eurispes), the Italian Farmers’ Organization Coldiretti and The Observatory on Crime in Agriculture and Agri-food Systems.

The report was pre­sented at the Rospigliosi Palace Congress Centre, Coldiretti’s head­quar­ters in Rome.

The increas­ing expan­sion of the sale of food prod­ucts online sug­gests with urgency the theme of secu­rity.- 4th Report on Agri-Food Crimes

After an intro­duc­tion of Gian Carlo Caselli, a for­mer pros­e­cu­tor who achieved sig­nif­i­cant results against orga­nized crime and is now pres­i­dent of the sci­en­tific com­mit­tee of the Observatory, speeches were given by the pres­i­dent of Eurispes, Gian Maria Fara; the min­is­ter of jus­tice, Andrea Orlando; the min­is­ter of agri­cul­ture, Maurizio Martina; the vice pres­i­dent of the Superior Council of Magistracy, Giovanni Legnini; the pres­i­dent of the Anti-mafia Parliamentary Commission, Rosy Bindi; the pres­i­dent of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate, Raffaele Cantone and the pres­i­dent of Coldiretti, Roberto Moncalvo.

The busi­ness of Agromafia reached a turnover of €16 bil­lion in 2015 and observ­ing what hap­pens in food pro­duc­tion and dis­tri­b­u­tion can give the idea that Italy is the cra­dle of ille­gal­ity.

On the con­trary, the report shows how the coun­try devel­oped an excel­lent sys­tem of inves­ti­ga­tion, enough to become the leader of agri-food secu­rity in Europe. No other coun­try has the same quan­tity and qual­ity of con­trols, the report con­cluded — that’s why so many irreg­u­lar­i­ties are detected.

Different spe­cial­ized law enforce­ment agen­cies, like the Anti-adul­ter­ation and Health Unit of the Carabinieri (Nas), Carabinieri Antifraud-Unit (NAC) Organized Crime Investigation Service of Financial Police (SCICO), the State Forestry Corp and the Central Inspectorate for the pro­tec­tion of qual­ity and fraud pre­ven­tion of food prod­uct (ICQRF) and the Anti-Mafia Investigation Department (DIA) per­formed more than 100,000 checks last year.

Olive oil is one of the most sen­si­tive sec­tors, accord­ing to the report, which begins with an exam­i­na­tion of the Xylella fas­tidiosa emer­gency call­ing for a thor­ough inves­ti­ga­tion of those who might be respon­si­ble for the mag­ni­tude of the cri­sis.

Regarding pro­duc­tion, in addi­tion to the dra­matic drop recorded in 2014, the ver­tig­i­nous growth of imports at the same time increases the risk of coun­ter­feit­ing of Italian prod­ucts.” But the excel­lent results of har­vest 2015, 46 per­cent higher than the pre­vi­ous one, per­mit­ted a recov­ery in all regions. With the inten­si­fi­ca­tion of con­trols, the com­pe­tent author­i­ties obtained a lot of vic­to­ri­ous actions against food fraud, usurpa­tion and phe­nom­ena of Italian sound­ing against the Made in Italy brand and con­sumers.”

The report revealed that so called Italian sound­ing” names, trade­marks and images that evoke Italy to fraud­u­lently pro­mote and sell prod­ucts not at all related to coun­try achieved an annual illicit rev­enue of €60 bil­lion and con­sti­tute almost two in three prod­ucts falsely labeled as Made in Italy.

The increas­ing expan­sion of the sale of food prod­ucts online sug­gests with urgency the theme of secu­rity, there­fore not only the trace­abil­ity of prod­ucts, but also a real cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of iden­tity,” the report declared. Considering that one Italian cus­tomer in five shops online, the cer­ti­fied iden­tity’ now takes on a new, deci­sive cen­tral­ity.”

Specific, effec­tive and imme­di­ate, rules” are now required, with the con­ve­nient sup­port of EU in some aspects of leg­is­la­tion. In this regard, the Commission for the elab­o­ra­tion of mea­sures on the reform of agri-food crimes estab­lished by the Ministry of Justice and led by Gian Carlo Caselli, has recently sub­mit­ted a bill (coin­ing a new crime of agropiracy) that calls for a renewed crim­i­nal law, less repres­sive and more care­ful in pro­tect­ing the con­sumer, able to inter­pret the chal­lenges of glob­al­iza­tion with­out for­get­ting the added value of the ter­ri­to­r­ial fea­tures, with the ulti­mate, non-nego­tiable goal to pro­tect peo­ple’s health.”


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