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Fake Made in Italy is worth 120 billion euros

According to an estimate by agrifood organizations, a third of "fake food" is produced in the USA

The value of counterfeit Made in Italy food products in the world rises to 120 billion euros, with the United States classified as the country where counterfeit Italian products register the highest turnovers. This is the alarm raised by agrifood organizations Coldiretti and Filiera Italia on the occasion of the most important world trade fair event dedicated to food specialties, the Summer Fancy Food 2023 in New York City at the Javits Center where the first Made in Italy exhibition was inaugurated table with the most grotesque imitations of national specialties unearthed in the USA that take away space and value on the markets from true Italian products.

The United States is the country that firmly holds the production leadership of fake Made in Italy with the phenomenon of tricolor food imitations that has come to represent over 40 billion euros. In practice, only one agri-food product that recalls Italy out of seven sold in the States actually comes from the Belpaese with exports amounting to 6.6 billion in 2022, according to Coldiretti and Filiera Italia. Suffice it to say that 90% of the Italian-type cheeses in the USA - the two organizations underline - are actually made in Wisconsin, California and New York, from Parmesan to Romano without sheep's milk, from Asiago to Gorgonzola, from mozzarella to Provolone.

The production of imitations of Italian cheeses - underline Coldiretti and Filiera Italia - in 2022 reached a record quantity of over 2.7 billion kilos in the USA, with exponential growth in the last 30 years, so much so that it has even surpassed the production of American cheeses such as Cheddar, Colby, Monterrey and Jack which amounted to 2.5 million kilos in the same year. However, the problem concerns all product categories such as Pompeian oil made in the USA, the most prestigious cured meats, from imitations of Parma and San Daniele to mortadella Bologna or Milan salami sold throughout the United States where it is also possible to buy Pompeian Olive Oil which has no connection with the ancient city of Campania. But there are also imitations of Provolone, Gorgonzola, Pecorino Romano, Asiago or Fontina. Among the cured meats, the most prestigious are cloned, from Parma to San Daniele, but also preserves such as the San Marzano tomato.

“The contribution of Made in Italy agri-food production with denomination of origin to exports and to the growth of the country could be much higher with a clear stop to international food counterfeiting”, said Coldiretti's president Ettore Prandini in underlining that “putting a brake on the the spread of agro-piracy at the table could create as many as 300,000 jobs in Italy”.

“All over the world we grow thanks to the distinctiveness of our products which are the result of territories but also of an inimitable ancient culture. Falsifying them, distorting their recipes, changing their ingredients means destroying what makes our lifestyle unique in the world, of which food culture is an essential part, adds Luigi Scordamaglia, CEO of Filiera Italia.

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EFA News - European Food Agency