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Italy defends the trasparency and the quality of Italian milk



The Minister of food forest and agricultural policies, Luca Zaia, presented the ministerial decree outlining `Norms in matter of labeling of long conservation sterilized milk, UHT milk, pasteurized milk and pasteurized milk at high temperatures, as well as the dairy products'. The provision will be notified to the European Commission according to the Directive 98/34/CE to be appraised.

“It is now the time to give concrete answers to the producers and to the consumers. To the producers we must assure the defense of their product on the market and the consumers have the right of knowing what they are buying and consuming”.

With these words the Minister of food forest and agricultural policies, Luca Zaia, presented today, in a press conference, the ministerial decree outlining `Norms in matter of labeling of long conservation sterilized milk, UHT milk, pasteurized milk and pasteurized milk at high temperatures, as well as the dairy products'. The provision will be notified to the European Commission according to the Directive 98/34/CE to be appraised.

“Once again, the Minister declared, we have kept our promises and presented the decree before the summer break. I want to start with some data: in a year in Italy 1686 agricultural companies that produce milk have closed, and today on the territory of the peninsula we have 39206 companies which produce 10million and 500thousand tons of milk. Besides this national production in Italy we import 8 million tons. So almost half of the milk sold in Italy is of foreign origin”.

“The problem is very simple, explained the Minister, in some Countries the production costs are very low and I will never say to our farmers, whether they are from the North, the Center or the South to produce at the same costs of these Countries. The production costs in Italy are high because they are a guarantee of food safety and I believe that nobody wants to renounce to this. In a recent survey it was stated that 98% of Italians consider necessary to indicate on the label the place of origin of the agricultural products: this means that if they read on a carton of milk the name of an Italian producer they are willing to spend more because they are aware that they are making a double investment: on food safety and on the territory”.

“The expense for organic food in Italy has increased 11% last year and 10% more of Italians bought their groceries in the farmers' markets. These data confirm a very precise trend: more and more Italians choose quality and the policies of this Ministry agree with the consumers in this”.
“This decree - Zaia explains – making the origin of milk obligatory in the labels, answers exactly these requirements of transparency and quality. Moreover we believe that it is necessary that this decree is diffused also at a European level, a difficult battle but that we feel we can win also because, just a short time ago, the obligatory nature in label for Virgin and Extra-virgin olive oil was approved. The European Commissioner for agriculture Mariann Fischer Boel in the Green Book has emphasized the need to introduce the obligatory nature of origin of the products. The Commissioner agrees with me that the true battle of the European agriculture, that which is worth fighting because it is right and feasible, is that on the origin. Europe must focus on quality and so it necessary to implement policies that protect quality producers and inform consumers”.
“I wish to underline that this is not a decree against anybody but it defends everybody, the consumers, the producers and also the transformers. We believe it is important that there is the possibility to chose whether to buy an Italian product or not. Only a correct and transparent information allows an informed choice when making a purchase”.
“I believe, the Minister concluded, that other European Countries will agree with us on this measure, and the fact that there is already the obligation of origin in label for the virgin and extra virgin olive oil makes us hope that the EU will positively receive this measure”.

Source: Agricoltura italiana online

by S. C.
08 august 2009, World News > Italy

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