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Is It Really 100% Made in Italy? Ferraris Are Not.

Heading in a better direction?

From time to time, the thorny Made in Italy question flares up in Italy. The topic has once more occupied Italian hearts and minds owing to a New York Times graphic which claimed that extra virgin Italy was not so much made as adulterated in Italy.

The truth is, while just about anything and everything can be made in Italy, it is not at all easy to know if every single aspect of a product is Italian. Take, for example, Italian fashion. That silk blouse you love may have been designed and made in Italy, but the components – the silk, the buttons, and the thread holding the blouse together, may not have been.

In other cases, Italian companies make the components of products outside Italy, import them into Italy, assemble them, slap on a ‘Made in Italy’ label and export some of them. Customers in other nations, and in Italy itself, think what they are getting is ‘Made in Italy’, except it isn’t really made made in Italy at all!

The line between ‘made’ and ‘assembled’ is rather blurred. Italian companies which do try to ensure their products are 100% made in Italy are unhappy with the situation, but EU legislation allows manufacturers to claim items assembled in Italy are ‘Made in Italy’. Confusing, isn’t it?

Complicating matters even further are products which are made in Italy from the ground upwards; Ferrari, for example; but that use components which may not have been made in Italy. Ferrari uses Japanese NGK spark plugs in its formula one cars. German company Mahle is also a Ferrari technical partner. Do buyers mind? Not really. But Ferrari’s are not 100% Made in Italy.

Some Italian manufacturers, such as the Institute for the Protection of Italian Manufacturers and activists like Italians Do It do mind though. They want every single component and ingredient to be produced in Italy before any product can carry the Made in Italy label.

Actually, the Institute for the Protection of Italian Manufacturers (ITPI) has adopted a variation of the Made in Italy labelling – the 100% Made in Italy certification and label. This label certifies a product has been designed and made in Italy from components also produced in Italy. Or it should. Read on to find out about a product which may have slipped though the net.

The 100% Made in Italy label is shown below:

100% Made in Italy
100% Made in Italy or should be

Perhaps the label could be a little more distinctive and include the colours of Italy’s flag. Sorry, I digress.

Qualifying for 100% Made in Italy Certification

For a product to qualify for the ITPI  label, it must meet the following criteria. It must be:

  • entirely made in Italy;
  • made using parts entirely made in Italy;
  • made with prime, high quality, materials;
  • created in accordance with a manufacturer’s exclusive design;
  • produced using techniques that adhere to Italian manufacturing traditions.

In addition, before Italian companies can earn themselves the right to carry this label, they are required to demonstrate complete compliance with health and safety regulations.

think in italian logo dark bg 1

Stop reading, start speaking

Stop translating in your head and start speaking Italian for real with the only audio course that prompt you to speak.

Italian products that can qualify for 100% Made in Italy certification are:

  1. Shoes
  2. Garments
  3. Hats
  4. Leather goods
  5. Accessories (presumably fashion accessories)
  6. Furniture

The list excludes car maker Ferrari which would not qualify for 100% Made in Italy certification anyway and one suspects many other ‘Italian’ brands would not qualify either.

Italian Food?

Yes, despite the somewhat confusing list above, Italian food is included, although it’s a little hidden away: Italian food 100% made in Italy (Corrected shortly after initial publication)

Extra virgin olive oil is one of the products the ITPI certify as being 100% made in Italy, only one may not be. See this blog post on The Natural Singer – Is This Really Olive Oil? – to find out the name of the Italian olive oil brand which is listed here on the ITPI website.

From The Natural Singer website, I’ve learnt of a simple test you can carry out to discover if extra virgin olive oil is the real deal – all you do is put it in the fridge overnight. If the oil solidifies, it’s probably OK. On the other hand, if it does not, it’s not authentic.

Right, this is only one example of a 100% authentic made in Italy product on with ITPI certification which might not be 100% genuine – but even one error calls into question the validity of the 100% Made in Italy certification system.

Find Products 100% Made in Italy

A list of the companies which has qualified for the totally made in Italy certification can be found here: Products 100% Made in Italy

Confusion or Clarification?

Does the two tier labelling system clarify or confuse the situation? What do you think?

Establishing whether a product is 100% Made in Italy won’t be at all easy and continual monitoring must be required. Who pays for the certification process and monitoring? While Italy’s government does fund the activity of the ITPI, it is not clear from their website just how much obtaining 100% Made in Italy certification costs.

As a consumer, do you think Italy should distinguish between products sort of made in Italy and those which have been completely made in Italy?

Perhaps it’s not that important.

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