At last we are able to know where the rice and pasta we eat is grown, processed and packaged. A decree has made this compulsory for all packs sold in Italy. But for many readers of this post, this feature is nothing new.
Maximum transparency in order to protect fruit growers and pasta and rice producers. This is the aim of two governmental decrees that call for product labelling that cites the origins of the rice and grain with which the pasta we find on supermarket and shop shelves is made. A step that was strongly backed by the Ministers for Agriculture (Maurizio Martina) and Economic Development (Carlo Calenda), so much so that implementation of European regulation on this subject has been brought forward, at least in its experimental form.
There are those who have always done so naturally
A step forward that also sees industrial producers having to adjust and be honest and transparent, thanks to what might be defined a simple act of good sense towards those who buy these products. A shrewdness – that of indicating the origin of the grain and place of packaging of the pasta – that businesses like Alce Nero already display, with no need for particular laws. The two decrees follow the standard in force since April for dairy products that states that the origin of the raw ingredients, so milk, butter, yoghurt, mozzarella, cheeses and products produced with milk from cows, goats, buffalo or other animal, be stated “clearly, visibly and legibly”.
How can I understand where pasta and rice comes from?
In practice, as of now, packets of dry pasta produced in Italy will indicate the country of grain cultivation and processing on their labels. Rice, on the other hand, must cite the country of cultivation, processing and packaging. If cultivation and processing is carried out in more than one European country, then the labelling will refer to “EU countries”, and if carried out in both EU and non-EU nations, the phrase “EU and non-EU countries” will be used. Lastly, if these operations are executed outside the European Union, the labelling will mention “non-EU countries”.
There is one other option. Let’s pretend a pack of pasta has been produced with flour produced partly in Italy and partly elsewhere. In this case, the label will cite “Italy and other EU countries” or “Italy and other non-EU countries” depending on the origin of the non-Italian flour. All this information must be clearly visible, legible and indelible. Of course, not everyone is in agreement and many producers that have sacrificed quality for quantity are turning their noses up. On the contrary, those with few interests to defend other than the need to build trust through transparency are very happy, guaranteeing the best for those who buy the product, cook it with care and enjoy it right down to the very last mouthful.