The Italian government has signed a legislative decree making origin labels mandatory for milk and dairy products sold in Italy.

The labels would note the country origin of their milk and where packaging and processing took place.

The law is now being assessed by the European Commission for compliance with EU laws before it can be implemented. Certified protected origin and geographical indication products such as Grana Padana and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese are exempt.

The law is designed to protect Italy’s milk sector, which has suffered from falling prices, notably since EU production quotas were scrapped in April 2015. 

Roberto Moncalvo, the president of Italian producer association Coldiretti said mandatory origin-labelling was “a historic moment, signalling change also providing increased transparency for consumers”.

Coldiretti claims low prices have led to the closure of 1,500 milking stalls at dairy farms in Italy since April 2015, making the country the world’s biggest milk importer, with 24m litres of milk and dairy products imported daily, much to make UHT long-life milk and fresh mozzarella cheese.