Can I lable a product, "product of" the country where it was bottled?
For example if I buy barrels of oil from Spain, and bottle them in Italy , can I lable it "product of Italy"?
This already happened with Chinese tomatoes. They were legally labeled Italian product after being packaged in an Italian factory.
You mentioned Italy, very famous for its food products and their counterfeit versions.
According to Italian regulations, a food product can be labeled
Italian product if any of the manufacturing steps were performed under Italian soil.
On the converse, DOC/DOP/IPG/SGT marks are reserved to products following specific regulations (actually official handbooks, disciplinary guidelines) that mostly require their ingredients come from local land.
Example: the very famous Campanian buffalo-milk Mozzarella cheese is marked DOP and as soon as the label is not being counterfeited you are buying a product which milk comes from local buffaloes. You can eat buffalo mozzarella anywhere, but to label it Campanian milk must come from there. However I am not saying Scottish buffalo mozzarella is bad or worse.
On the contrary, a major scandal involving tomato souce reported that most of the ingredients came from China, but can be legally labeled
Any British shopper browsing Asda's supermarket shelves for a touch of the Mediterranean culinary lifestyle might have been forgiven for thinking that the labels on the cans of an own-brand tomato puree meant what they said. After all, they read: "Produced in Italy". But that was not to be quite the whole story, thanks to the often opaque world of EU consumer law. When police in Angri, southern Italy, raided Asda's supplier, they found the tomato puree had been imported from China. It had been allowed to gain a "produced in Italy" label simply by having some water and salt added and then being canned in Italy.
TV investigation on the case: (kudos and credits to Le Iene show airing on
Italia 1 channel)
- Video: https://www.iene.mediaset.it/video/quando-il-pomodoro-cinese-diventa-made-in-italy_9601.shtml
- Text in Italian (for those wishing to use a translator): https://www.nextquotidiano.it/pomodoro-cinese-iene-errori-bufala/
Reg. (CE) N. 1513/2001
More than labeling it "product of Italy", there are specific regulatory provisions on oil labeling, regulated by EU, which also require to label the origin of olives explicitly. However, the European rules do not require geographical specificity to the origin
region of the olives. So you can label your oil "Product of Italy. Made only with olives from European Union".
A very aware consumer would seriously raise a yellow flag after reading this, suspecting the Spain-to-Italy trick. That is why companies that can certify source of their products would label "Product of Italy. Made only with olives from ...[Apulia? Tuscany?]"