The European Commission is threatening Italy with legal action for imposing overly tough labelling requirements on poultry products imported from other EU member states.

Italian regulations insist that the labels indicate the country of origin, as well as the date of import. Brussels claims Italian law breaks EU food labelling rules because they impose additional red tape and could cause Italian consumers to avoid imported products.

Usually they can only be marked EU-made, unless a lack of origin information “could mislead or confuse the consumer”, said the Commission.

This stipulation did not apply in Italy’s case, the Commission added, which could begin legal action against Rome at the European Court of Justice (ECJ).