Italy - Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards
To the extent that European Union food laws are harmonized, Italy‟s food laws and regulations follow European Union rules. However, in the event that the EU law may be incomplete or absent, the law of each member state applies. The main principle of the single market concept is to ensure that all food products, whether produced in the EU or imported from a third country, can move freely throughout the EU if they comply with uniform requirements. In reality, certain directives allow Member States to make exceptions i.e. in cases where a country can identify unique concerns about a product intended for import. Free movement can only be guaranteed when all aspects are covered by harmonized
legislation: e.g. a foodstuff may comply with the general labeling directive but may carry a health claim for which harmonized rules do not yet exist.
Imported products must meet existing Member State requirements in cases where EU regulatory harmonization is not yet complete. Italian authorities implement EU rules (directives and regulations) for food and agriculture through country specific laws and decrees. Up to date information on EU food import rules as well as general information on EU import duties and quotas can be found on the USEU website at: http://www.fas.usda.gov/posthome/useu/
In Italy Food Safety is the primary responsibility of the Italian Ministry of Health, while food production is the primary responsibility of the Italian Ministry of Agriculture. In some instances, other Italian Ministries may have responsibilities, such as the Ministry for Productive Activities on standards, labeling and trade promotion, or the Ministry of Economy and Finance on customs and duties.