Going public Italian style: I tell you but you tell I sue

As Americans grapple with the public health implications about going public either too early or too late, the Italians have added an unique variation: a company issued a public warning, then prohibited people from speaking or writing about it.

A food safety friend based in Italy who has followed the machinations of Taco-Restaurant-A-Bell and a recent salmonella outbreak, noted that going public with a food safety recall is an exception in Italy. Companies have plans for disseminating information to the public in their recall procedures, but are reluctant to put them into practice. National authorities don’t insist on much. A recall for foreign bodies is also exceptional as officials don’t mind foreign bodies much. What is typically Italian is the threatening message at the end: we tell the public because we have to, but we will sue you if you talk about it to anyone, or you link to our page.

The press release, translated from Italian, says, “Leaf Italia informs its consumers of the possible presence of foreign bodies inside some boxes of chocolate pralines "Sperlari Granperle plain chocolate with crushed nougat" gr. 160 which belong only to production lots L11284 – L11285 – L11287 – L11294 – L11296 – L11300 as indicated on the package.

“As a precautionary measure, it is therefore recommended not to consume the product in the image and to call the toll free number 800829008 for more information.

“This information is owned by LEAF. The information is intended for exclusive use for the purposes covered by this statement and any different use must be authorized in writing by LEAF: in the absence of such authorization, any dissemination and reproduction is forbidden."