Minimum 20% juice content law 'to harm Italian producers'

'No health or safety benefits' says food association chief

(ANSA) - Rome, June 11 - The head of Italy's national food-and-drink association Federalimentare, Filippo Ferrua, spoke out on Wednesday against the Lower House's approval of a law amendment raising the minimum orange-juice content in products from Italy labeled 'orange drink' to 20%.
    Ferrua said that it was "harmful to bring in limits and prohibitions solely for Italian producers, thereby aiding foreign companies and damaging Italian competitiveness. It puts thousands of jobs at risk, including those in ancillary industries". The head of the food industry association called the regulation "clearly unConstitutional," saying it constituted "counter-discrimination against Italian producers and an unnecessary hindrance to unrestricted economic initiative," and was "unreasonable, as it neither protects health nor food safety". He noted that the regulation was not justified on the basis of health-related reasons, "as the EU Commission found when it rejected it in previous years," and would not help agriculture, since "there is no rule saying the supply must come from Italy".
    As for consumers, "they already have a wide selection of 100% fruit juices on the market to choose from, while soon they will no longer be able to find the flavours they have enjoyed for years. They will instead find more calories on products made in Italy and lower requirements and prices on those made abroad".
    Ferrua warned that the regulation might result in the elimination of entire production lines and have serious effects on employment.
    "At a time like this," he said, "it is absurd to penalize those doing business in Italy".


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