EU poultry product exporters to Italy may be freed of a requirement that they identify the EU country in which the meat was sourced.

The European Commission has decided that this Italian labelling requirement breaks EU freedom of trade rules and is taking Italy to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), which could order the rules are relaxed.

The Italians allege that the labelling eases identifying potentially harmful poultry meat during disease outbreaks.

However, a Commission official argued this is "not necessary", given existing food EU traceability regulations.

Italy has ignored a 'reasoned opinion' final legal warning on the issue, Brussels has claimed.