Sustainable meat, the decree exists but the label is ghost-breakinglatest.news-Breaking Latest News

The “sustainably farmed product” label on food? For now, as the British say, it is wishfull thinking, that is, it is far from coming. With the beginning of 2023, it has been read in recent days, it is possible to label foods that derive from virtuous practices in terms of animal welfare with the appropriate wording. The label would be authorized by the ministerial decree of November 30, which replaces the decree of March 4, 2011 on the regulation of the national zootechnical quality system, in turn referred to the EU regulation 1974 of 2006.

The decree, of course, is there. But the label is ghost. In fact, in order to proceed with a quality stamp, certifying bodies authorized to issue the label are needed, and above all a disciplinary is needed – approved by a titled technical commission – which establishes the requisites for certification. And at the moment, there is neither. There is only one decree, which speaks of the national livestock quality system and the requirements for the granting of European contributions under the new CAP based on the eco-schemes approved by Italy. In short, there is still a long way to go to get a quality mark on made in Italy meat packages.

«As regards the decree on the national livestock quality system – explains Chiara Caprio, head of institutional relations of Being animals – we can only highlight a basic inconsistency, which surprises us a lot considering the work done instead on the proposal for the national quality system certification animal welfare advanced by the Ministry and already problematic in itself. There is talk in the media of a disciplinary “sustainable farms” and it is difficult to comment in the absence of official sharing, but for what emerges the parameters nor the process that should lead to this umpteenth certification are not clear. The aim should instead be that of a communication that is understandable for consumers, but above all that of really raising the standards of animal welfare in Italy, communicating not only with technicians inside the ministry, but also with experts and associations who work on the subject every day in Italy ».

Sustainability is an issue increasingly felt by consumers. Food producers know this and are trying to go in this direction. For this reason, in November 2021 Italia Zootecnica – the association that brings together most of the OPs of beef producers in our country – presented a request for recognition to the Ministry of Agriculture for a “Disciplinary for sustainable farms”. The intentions of the breeders was to arrive at a certification of Italian character and quality to be attributed to farms that voluntarily undertook to guarantee in their stables standards higher than those required by law in terms of certified quality animal feed, absence of antibiotics, absence of parasites, controlled climate in the stables and respect for the working conditions of the workers. The “Italian Seal Consortium” brand should have been affixed to products with these characteristics, which has already existed since 2018 for products that comply with the specifications recognized by Mipaaf, with the addition, however, of “sustainable farming”.

The goal of the farmers is to increase the consumption of made in Italy meat but also its yield, given that its quality is raised. To date, in fact, only 9% of the beef produced in Italy boasts the IGP denomination: Chianina, Marche, Romagna, Piedmontese. The remaining 91% of the meat produced in our country, the AOP Italia Zootecnica recalls, is marketed anonymously by producers and slaughterers, it does not have a brand, and it becomes difficult for the consumer to recognize it. Furthermore, today we import over 48% of the beef consumed, in practice one steak out of two is not produced in Italy.

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