Coldiretti protest at Brenner Pass. Image courtesy of Coldiretti on Facebook

Farmers stage Brenner Pass border checks for fake ‘Made in Italy’ goods

Business News

Italian farmers association Coldiretti staged a big rally featuring thousands of its members at the Brenner Pass between Italy and Austria on Monday. They also staged checks with police on lorries to see if they were transporting counterfeit Italian food products.

Faced with the invasion of foreign products which Coldiretti says ‘put citizens’ health and the future of Italian agri-food at risk’, the association is calling for greater controls to block food fraud at the table.

This is one of the reasons the farmers’ association staged the Brenner Pass protest on Monday.

Coldiretti highlights the recent cases of foreign potatoes sold as Italian or fake Brindisi artichokes of African origin, or seed oil sold in Roman restaurants as extra virgin. The association denounces the crossings and ports where fake good flood in, saying they cannot continue to be a sieve through which everything passes.  

Furthermore, goods coming from outside the EU are often treated with substances and methods which are banned in Europe.  For example, Canadian wheat dried before harvesting with glyphosate. Coldiretti also wants the principle of reciprocity to apply, i.e. that obligations imposed on Italian producers must also apply for those who want to sell in the European market.

Brenner Pass protest part of larger campaign

Monday’s protest at the Brenner Pass on Monday is part of a larger campaign directed at the EU which concluded last December that the Italian decrees on origin labelling for pasta, rice, tomato derivatives, milk and cheeses, cured meats, considered obstacles to free trade. This despite, in the eyes of Coldiretti, the high and legitimate interest of consumers in knowing the origin of the raw material of what they put on their plate.

They are aiming to get one million signatures to their petition, saying enough to foods imported and disguised as Italian, plus extending the obligation to indicate origin on the label to all food products on the market in the EU. In 2022, we reported on the fake Italian produce market which rakes in €120billion.

“Brenner is a highly symbolic place for the passage of fake Made in Italy products that invade our market, and it is from here that we relaunch our battle on the transparency of origin on the label which is a right of European citizens,” said president of Coldiretti Ettore Prandini. “We ask that it be a priority of the new EU Commission and of the new Parliament after the European elections”.

The campaign can be supported by signing at all Campagna Amica farmers’ markets and in the Coldiretti offices and will also be promoted on social media with the hashtag #nofakeinitaly.

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