Italy has notified the European Commission of a decree it passed to introduce a mandatory country-of-origin label for milk and milk products.

The decree, which was signed by the country’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, requires European Commission’s final approval.

Manufacturers will have to display the country from where the raw materials have been sourced, in addition to packaging and processing.

"Around 10% of Italy’s dairy products are produced using imported milk."

This initiative has been taken to bolster small and medium-sized firms, as well as to reduce imports.

This move, however, has come when the country is witnessing a 9.5% drop in milk production, as well as a reduction in price to €0.20 per litre.

According to Coldiretti, a farmers’ association, Italy is the largest importer of milk in EU; around 24 million litres of milk and milk products are imported every day.

Further, every third milk carton sold in the country is imported, and 50% of mozzarella cheese produced comes from imported milk.

In all, around 10% of dairy products are produced using imported milk.

Grocery retailer Conad CEO Francesco Pugliese was quoted by ESM Magazine as saying that the government’s decision "gives value to domestic companies, avoiding the closure of other stables and provides a defence to territories that produce food excellence".