STA, 26 February 2021 - Slovenia's draft regulation on vinegar and dilute acetic acid quality has sparked strong protests in Italy. The proposal sets down that any vinegar mixture with concentrated fruit juice or must could be labelled balsamic vinegar. The Slovenian government has said that Italy has not provided any formal comments so far.
The Austrian Press Agency (APA) has recently reported on what it describes as a battle for balsamic vinegar between Slovenia and Italy. What triggered it is the Slovenian draft, which defines balsamic vinegar as any vinegar containing concentrated or diluted fruit juice or must as an additive.
Slovenia notified the European Commission of the draft on 2 December 2020 with the standstill period ending on 3 March, the Agriculture Ministry told the STA today.
Both the economy and agriculture ministries highlighted that so far Slovenia had not received any formal comments or reservations by the Commission or member states.
"The regulation is still in the notification phase and reviews by the European Commission and all the member states are ongoing," the Agriculture Ministry added.
The same requirements for the use of the balsamic vinegar label as in the new draft are already set down under the current Slovenian regulation on vinegar and dilute acetic acid quality, which was most recently amended in 2004, the ministry noted.
In the event of formal comments on the draft made by the Commission or individual EU countries, the document will be amended accordingly, according to the ministry.
Italy protected Aceto Balsamico di Modena or Balsamic Vinegar of Modena using a protected geographical indication (PGI) in 2009. The Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena label is also protected as designation of origin (PDO), the ministry said, adding that in Slovenia balsamic vinegar was meanwhile a generic term.
The Italian Press Agency (ansa) quoted Italian Agriculture Minister Stefano Patuanelli on Thursday as saying that the Italian government will take action to protect the Modena balsamic vinegar. Using the draft, Slovenia would like to elude a system that protects the authenticity of the Italian vinegar, he added, highlighting that such protection was one of the Italian government's priorities.
The Modena consortium of balsamic vinegar producers has been critical of Slovenia's step as well, saying that the Slovenian government seeks to change the balsamic vinegar labelling into product standard.
Moreover, Slovenia's move has been criticised by the Coldiretti society of Italian farmers, which has described the attempt by the Slovenian Agriculture Ministry as a "dangerous precedent".
"The proposal regarding the Slovenian regulation on vinegar and dilute acetic acid quality does not oppose or restrict in any way the already established protected geographical indications Aceto Balsamico di Modena and the designation of origin Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena," the Slovenian ministry said.