Agri-food, control plans approved for the protection of Italian products

Ministero dell'Agricoltura

The Direction Room for agri-food controls, which met a few days ago at the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Sovereignty and Forestry, approved the Operational Plan for controls in the agri-food sector for 2024, with the aim of strengthening and ensuring greater transparency in inspection activities to protect producers from unfair practices and to ensure citizens high standards of quality and wholesomeness of the food brought to their tables.

The meeting also saw the approval of the 'Vademecum for inspections of companies in the agri-food sector': this document indicates the modalities of the monitoring actions of the inter-force Direction Room.

Last year, more than 191,000 controls were carried out on the agri-food sector, in addition to monitoring the disbursement of EU funds, which led to the ascertainment of approximately 98 million euros in unduly received aid, out of a total of just under 190 million euros.

With the new Operational Plan, the Direction Room aims to strengthen the actions and indicate, for each sector, the inspection activities that will be carried out in the current year.

The aim is to avoid unnecessary duplication of controls and protect honest producers, isolating the few who engage in unfair competition, including the exploitation and use of products that come from countries that do not respect our rules and, consequently, cannot ensure the health of citizens.

The document also specifies control actions for clandestine supply chains, for instance like those placing blue crab on the market, and unfair imports, to ensure greater protection from misleading indications of origin and denomination.

The inspections will focus on the traceability of products and the indication of the origin of raw materials and finished products, as these are high risk elements for irregularities in almost all sectors.

Controls will focus in particular on labelling; the fight against so-called 'unfair' commercial practices; and the fight against fraudulent offences in the field of EU fund disbursements.

The sectors concerned are those of the wine, olive oil, dairy, fruit and vegetables, cereals and derivatives, equestrian, meat and feed sectors, and the fight against fraud to the EU budget.

Lastly, further impetus will be given to monitoring e-commerce, in view of the increase that this sales method is also recording in the agri-food sector.