July 20, 2007
EU warns Italy to change poultry labeling laws
In what could be seen as an impediment to labeling rules within the EU, Italy was criticised for its poultry labeling rules as it was said to be hampering free trade and encouraging discrimination among EU countries, the European Commission charged Thursday (Jul 19).
The European Commission, warned it will sue Italy in Luxembourg's European Court of Justice if Italy does not change a 2005 law requiring poultry producers to indicate the meat's country of origin on labels.
Italy defended the move as it says the rule was necessary so that poultry can be easily traced in the case of a bird flu outbreak.
However, the EC has said the move was unnecessary as there are already requirements in place to ensure safety.
Michael Mann, spokesman for the EU's top agriculture official said countries within the EU should not discriminate against different types of meat on the basis of country.
Country labeling for beef is only allowed as an "exception" designed to restore public confidence after outbreaks of mad cow disease, he added.
Italy now has two months to reply to the commission's complaints before having to defend the law in Europe's highest court.