Food industry upset over obligatory labelling of origin of pasta, rice

Italy’s decision to impose mandatory labelling on pasta and rice packaging has triggered protests from the food industry, which has called on the European Commission to cancel the measure. Pasta and rice packaging will have to include the origin of durum wheat and rice, the Italian ministries of agriculture and economic development decided. The two decrees – one for rice and one for durum wheat – were published on 16 and 17 August, establishing the duty to declare the origin of the cereals on the label. Italian Agriculture Minister Maurizio Martina said the policy was “aimed at achieving maximum transparency for the consumer, strengthen protection for producers and value chains for two key products of the Made in Italy brand.” Italy further declared its intention recently to include the origin of primary ingredients on the labels of tomato-based products too. FoodDrinkEurope, which represents the European food and drink industry, reacted strongly to Italy’s move and called on the EU executive to take immediate action against it. According to the industry body, such a move could jeopardise the EU single market. They also criticised the fact that Rome passed the legislation without prior notification at EU level.