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Italy introduces new rules on packaged fresh produce

Staff writer |
New rules on the preparation, packaging and distribution of ready-to-eat fruit and vegetables have been enforced in Italy.

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Among the new requirements is the obligation to keep vegetables at a temperature below 8°C. The addition of non-fresh or dried ingredients of plant origin is permitted, but in amounts not exceeding 40 percent of the finished product.

Also, the packaging should include clear and visible information such as "products washed and ready-to-eat", "keep refrigerated at temperatures below 8° C" and "consume within two days of opening the package and no later than the expiration date", as well as instructions for products that need to be cooked.

Italy’s National Consumers Union (UNC) has warned that in some supermarkets and shops that are not equipped with suitable refrigerators, prepared salads could be withdrawn, at least in the short term.

The association’s head of food security, Agostino Macri, stressed that the new rules represent a step forward in terms of food safety and transparency and the provision of proper information for consumers. He adds that better protection may result in increased costs.

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