Law No. 4 of 3 February 2011 entitled “Regulations on the labelling and quality of alimentary products” was published in the Official Journal on 19 February 2011.

This law has made it obligatory to indicate on the label of alimentary products the place of origin or provenance of the product and the possible use of OGM at any stage in the alimentary chain, failure resulting in the application of administrative pecuniary sanctions.

It therefore extends the compulsory indication of provenance to alimentary products in general, previously applicable only to beef, chicken and by-products, fresh fruit and vegetables, eggs, tomato puree, fresh milk, fish, extra virgin oil and honey.

For unprocessed foodstuffs the country of production shall be considered as the place of origin, while for processed foodstuffs the place of origin shall be considered as the country in which the final substantial processing took place and the place of cultivation and breeding of the prevalent agricultural raw material used in the preparation or production of the products.

Subsequent Ministerial decrees, from which date the law shall enter into force, shall establish the procedures for the compulsory indication and traceability, which products shall be subject to compulsory indication and the methods for determining the place of origin for processed foodstuffs, clarifying the concept of prevalence of the agricultural raw material used.

In the labelling of cheese mixtures the cited law has furthermore prohibited the indication of protected designation of origin (PDO) cheeses, except amongst the ingredients, provided that for each PDO cheese the percentage used is not lower than 20 percent of the mixture and that communication thereof was given to the relative protection consortium, which can verify the effective use of the percentage declared.

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