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Case detail



Directive article Annex I al1 4.
National ID PS411
Country Italy Decision date 03/07/2008
Common name OVITO-MAGICANNUCCIA APPROVATI FIMP Decision type Administrative decision, first degree
Court Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (Rome) Plaintiff(s) Italian Competition Authority
Court translation Italian Competition Authority Defendant(s) Novelli S.r.l., Littlebit S.r.l., FIMP, Beiersdorf S.p.A. and Siport S.p.A..
Subject endorsement
Keywords black listendorsementmisleading commercial practicesmisleading statementspackagingproduct characteristics

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Headnote

 

It is misleading to claim (either on the packaging of food products or on commercial communications regarding such food products) that food products have received the approval of a national professional federation, when this federation has not actually verified the products. 

Facts

On 27 December 2007, the Italian Ministry of Health reported the possible unfairness of a practice carried out by some traders (Novelli S.r.l. and Littlebit S.r.l.) active in the commercialisation of food products concerning the improper use of the claim "as approved by FIMP" (the Italian Federation of Pediatricians).

On 9 January 2008, ADICONSUM (an Italian consumers' association) reported the possible unfairness of an advertisement and a labeling of certain food products for the improper use of the claim "the only one product approved by FIMP".

On 6 February 2008, the Italian Competition Authority started its investigation proceeding against Novelli, Littlebit and FIMP.

On 9 April 2008, the investigation proceeding was extended to FIMP Progetti, Beiersdorf S.p.A. and Siport S.p.A..

The Authority  verified that the investigated traders mentioned on the packaging and commercial communications of their food products the claim "as approved by FIMP", in the absence of any verification and approval of such products by FIMP.

Since the practice had been carried out using the press, internet and TV, on 27 June 2008, the opinion of the Italian Communication Authority was also requested.

Legal issue

Is it misleading to claim (on the packaging of food products or on commercial communications regarding such food products) that the food products have received the approval of a national professional federation, in the absence of any actual verification of the products by such federation?

Decision

The Italian Competition Authority decided that such practice indeed constitutes an unfair commercial practice and, in particular, a per se misleading commercial practice as set forth by Annex I-4, UCP Directive.

Such a claim is likely to materially distort the economic behaviour of the average consumer, as the consumer is induced to believe that the products having this claim on their package have special characteristics, while they have not.

  URL Decision Decision full text
EN N/A
IT http://www.agcm.it/agcm_ita/DSAP/Dsap_pi.nsf/a0d111d6626f957fc125652a00315873/0d25a174c1a3ab9bc12574b2003485a5?OpenDocument&Highlight=2,ps411

Result

The Italian Competition Authority decided to fine the traders as follows:

- FIMP - 300.000 EUR;

- Novelli S.r.l. - 120.000 EUR;

- Littlebit S.r.l. - 65.000 EUR;

- Beiersdorf S.p.A. - 100.000 EUR;

- Siport S.p.A. - 110.000 EUR

and to request them to cease their unfair behaviour.
 

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