Slovenia in “vinegar war” with Italy

Slovenia in “vinegar war” with Italy

Italy decided to defend its rights on “balsamic vinegar” after Slovenia is allegedly attempting to make it a common product.

As ANSA Agency reported, Italy moved to defend its iconic balsamic vinegar after Slovenia said any vinegar mixture with concentrated grape must could be called balsamic vinegar. The farm ministry penned a letter to the European Commission contesting Slovenia’s move.

Agriculture Minister Stefano Patuanelli said last month that the government will be taking action to defend the Balsamic vinegar of Modena from attempts by the Slovenian authorities to get around the system that protects its authenticity. The consortium of producers of Modena Balsamic vinegar rang the alarm after the Slovenian government notified the European Commission of a national law which aims to transform the denomination “balsamic vinegar” into a product standard. The consortium claims this contradicts EU law and undermines the PDO and PGI labelling system protecting the authenticity of foods produced in a specific geographical area.

“The protection of Italian wine and gastronomy is one of the government’s priorities,” said Patuanelli. “Therefore, we will do everything possible to defend the Balsamic vinegar of Modena from these illicit attacks”.

Federico Desimoni, Director of the Aceto Balsamico di Modena PGI’s protection Consortium, stated earlier that “this means that, should the Commission express a positive opinion, any mixture of wine vinegar with concentrated grape must will be able to be called -and sold- as balsamic vinegar, thus mortifying the tradition and the efforts made by the producers who made it famous around the world.”

The Italian government notified a “detailed opinion” to the European Commission through which it formalized its opposition to the adoption of the Slovenian technical regulations. The standstill period provided for by the Community procedure has been extended to June 3. In the coming months, member states will be called upon to take a position on the critical issues reported by Italy and reach a decision. “The Consortium”, says president Mariangela Grosoli, “expresses its full satisfaction and heartfelt gratitude to the political-institutional world and to all those who have personally invested in this case.”

Ponti, a leading Italian balsamic vinegar company, calls on the European Commission to adopt a clear position. “Our product is produced only in Modena and Reggio Emilia. It is a product that guarantees 400 million euros of turnover in Italy, and one thousand employees are involved in its production. Moreover, it is crucial for Italian exports. In fact, 90% of the product is exported. This is why this sector must be protected and taken care of,” Giacomo Ponti claims, CEO of the leading company. /ibna