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New labeling rules in Italy on pasta and rice products could affect Canada's export market. (Photo: nexus_icon/Flickr.)

In an effort to spotlight local farmers, Italy has issued a new rule stating that pasta and rice products sold in the country must be labeled with country of origin.

According to Reuters, labels will start their transition next year and will go through a two-year trial process. Labels will state where wheat is grown and milled, while rice labels will state where the crop is grown, packaged and treated.

Reuters reports that Canada is a major exporter of durum, pasta’s main ingredient, to Italy (and the world’s largest exporter overall) and the push for more local wheat could hurt their market. Canada exports an estimated $197 million USD worth of wheat to Italy, the country’s second-largest export market, every year. In the 2016-17 harvest, Canada exported 676,000 tons of durum to Italy.

While there’s no evidence that the new rule has affected trade, the Canadian government is taking precautionary steps and reviewing the decree under the World Trade Organization as well as the free trade agreement between the European Union and Canada.