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food fake in italy

in recent times there has been much talk of food fraud in Italy. Olive oil, tomatoes and even pasta!

To uncover the Pandora's box we thought an English blogger following here in Italy.
The New York Times has also published this: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/01/24/opinion/food-chains-extra-virgin-suicide.html

This article has been great emphasis on Italy and Italians were very outraged.
In Italy, olive oil is like a religion. Many families produce their oil from them, and in Italy it is used for cooking, dressing and even for making cakes in place of butter. The Italian olive oil with the red wine is at the basis of the Mediterranean diet, which the tourists can taste in Italy (especially in the south of Italy).

From resident in Italy, the advice I can give you are these: Always read the label of origin and do not trust too low prices for extra virgin olive oil.
Trust, for wine, local wine cellars: they produce from their own wine with Italian grapes. Ask the restaurant only fresh tomatoes (they are good and definitely healthy). Ask the tomatoes on the pizza also, instead of the tomato sauce.

And if you want to taste the real Italian pasta, rely on small shops that produce fresh pasta!

Posted by
16771 posts

It's not necessarily a "good investment" to haul home heavy bottles of oil or wine. But you might be more tempted to do so in cases where you have actually met the producer.

I like to buy dried porcini mushrooms as very lightweight souvenir, but there too, you must confirm on the label what type of mushrooms are in the packet, and their origin. The prettiest and/or cheapest will not be porcini, but other varieties.

Posted by
5817 posts

I'm probably being a bit stupid, but how do you fake a tomato?!

Posted by
11613 posts

Emma, you call it a San Marzano when it's really some other type. Once it's canned or jarred, you can't tell by looking at it.

Posted by
5817 posts

Thanks Zoe. I does make me think "first world problems"! :-) but I can see the fraud implications.