Dec 302011

The Italian environmental group FareAmbiente recently released a report on the police seizure of counterfeit food products in 2010. Even for those who know the profits to be made from piggybacking on the collective reputation of products that have made Italian food culture famous (parmesan cheese, mozzarella di bufala, prosciutto di Parma), the numbers are astounding. Over 11 million products were seized by customs and anti-fraud police units, for a total value of almost €780 million worth of fake goods. Food fraud can take a variety of forms, the report specifies: from selling regular mozzarella as buffalo-milk mozzarella top using foreign ingredients in Made in Italy products, or selling low-quality Made in Italy knock-offs in other countries. The report also mentions the “Italian-sounding” phenomenon as perhaps less illegal but more dangerous to the reputation of Italian food products.  ZN

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