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Last Updated:[08-07-2010 00:43:35 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Foul German Cheese Savour Protests from Italian Farmers

tradenews A multitude of Italian farmers converged on the Austrian border to protest at the importation of tainted cheese from Germany with Italian-sounding brand names. The demonstration was held on account of last month’s seizure of a consignment of 70,000 German mozzarella cheese balls that turned blue once they were removed from their packages or exposed to air.

The cheese which was made in Germany, by the firm Milchwerk Jager Gmbh & Co has been blamed for exporting sub-standard versions by mimicking Italian sounding brand names such as Fattorie Torresina, Lovilio and Monteverdi. Although the mozzarella was marked as made in Germany and did not receive any complaints of illness linked to the ‘blue’ mozzarella at that time, the farmers regard the incident has harmed the reputation of Italy as a quality food-maker.

Preliminary analyses at Turin's Zooprofilattico (veterinary preventative medicine) Institute analyses showed it to be bacterial rather than toxic contamination. Besides bacteria, the blue colouring could also indicate elements of copper, nickel or lead in the milk or the aqueous solution used to preserve the cheese.

During the protest, Italy's main farm lobby Coldiretti argued that the citizens had the right to know what they were buying and origin of those products. Similarly, Agriculture Minister of Italy Giancarlo Galan told that he would press for new legislation requiring milk producers to give more details about the provenance of their milk and related products.

Mozzarella is the most favourite variety of cheese in Italy, and about 60 percent of Italians consume 164mn kilograms (360mn pounds) per annum. With this German trade infringement, Italian cheese producers feel the original mozzarellas may lose their brand value among the consumers. Tuesday's protest saw border police inspecting trucks bringing milk, meat and other products into Italy.

By Jose Roy

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