The denunciation of the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium: “The US government has to do something. American consumers still do not understand the differences between Parmesan and Parmigiano Reggiano”
“The discovery of sawdust in a grated hard cheese packaging made in the USA and sold as “parmesan” confirms that US consumers continue to be exposed to risks of fraud and counterfeiting that absolutely must be removed as part of the TTIP negotiations between European Union and the US, enabling even eliminating damage that continue to pour on the Parmigiano Reggiano producers due to imitations and references to the original denomination that generate confusion and suspicion among consumers overseas”.
So the Consortium of Parmigiano Reggiano takes the field after the discovery by the FDA (Food and Drugs administartion, the US government agency that deals with the regulation of food and drugs) of cellulose in US grated hard cheese packaging, discovery highlighted in a news report of the agency Bloomberg in recent days that has brought the case to the attention of the media and consumers on the excessive presence of cellulose – called “sawdust” – beyond the regulatory limits permitted in the United States.
“A situation – says the consortium – which in any way can occur with the use of authentic Parmigiano Reggiano, because the use of the name acts just the exclusive use of our cheese and the absence of any additive and adjuvant”. “If the product available in the US is accompanied by a trade mark “slice and shape” – says the consortium – that means, moreover, that has been imported from Italy already packed and checked, thus excluding any possibility of manipulation”. On the other hand, it emphasizes the Consortium, the American market is very widespread the practice of grated cheese at the level of individual stores or local specialized companies. Also in this case it emerges a large difference between the imitation cheese and the real Parmigiano Reggiano. The latter, in fact, being the only cheese that reaches ages of 24 months and beyond, once grated does not require the use of adjuvants – such as sawdust or cellulose – to avoid the formation of lumps. Conversely, hard cheeses of imitation, being much less mature and more humid, almost obligatorily require aids and anti-caking agents to avoid lumps in the cheese.
“The real problem – according to the Agency of protection – is represented by the products that circulate freely in the United States and are characterized not only by ambiguous names, but also by graphic elements on the packages refer directly to our country (the flag is most used, but there are often references to monuments and works of art), leading consumers to believe that the product comes from Italy”. “The data of our latest research – continues the Consortium – tell us how high the likelihood that consumers would be misled: in front of packs feature elements of” Italian sounding “, in fact, the 67% of American shoppers is convinced be faced with authentic Italian product”.
“The affair of the cellulose in packs of American cheese proposed as “parmesan” – concludes the Agency of protection – shows on the one hand that the safety, even in the US, resides only in the purchase of authentic Parmigiano Reggiano and on the other, once again the urgent need for new protection rules which in the United States through genuine defense of consumer interests and, at the same time, the protection of the Italian producers, damaged by the free movement of products which imitate and evocative of our denomination amounting to 100 thousand tons”.