Counterfeiting costs Italy's food producers €60bn a year

Made in Italy stampsCounterfeiting and falsification of Italian food specialities robs the country of around €60bn a year, according to national farmers' organisation Coldiretti.

Italian foods are among the most copied brands around the world, with regional specialities such as parmesan cheese and Parma ham increasingly being produced in large quantities in countries such as the US, China, Germany, Czech Republic, Australia and Argentina.

Despite being made overseas, knock-off products are often labelled 'Made in Italy', and national and EU labelling laws should be tightened so that consumers are aware of where a product is made, including the ingredients that go into it.

All told, it is estimated that just 2 per cent of the global market for Italian produce is actually made in Italy, with US production of fake Italian cheeses on its own thought to represent a market worth upwards of €2bn a year.

Meanwhile, three out of four hams sold in Italy are actually made from pigs raised abroad, while about half of the mozzarella cheese on the market is made with foreign milk.

Coldiretti that tackling the problem of counterfeiting of foods with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status could generate income and employment for Italy in challenging economic times.


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