The Italian Almanac

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Italian Food - June 17

Italian tomato products are repelling foreign invaders with new labels proving that the 'pomodori' came from the Bel Paese. "With the new labels, national products will no longer be anonymous and it will no longer be possible to trick consumers and damage our farmers," said farm organisation Coldiretti. "This will halt the flood of Chinese tomato derivatives destined to be diluted and mixed with Italian produce so as to pose as Italian on our most traditional dishes worldwide, such as pizza and pasta".

In the last few years, all-Italian tomato puree and paste were hit by an influx of Chinese tomatoes which were mixed with native products to gain a bogus 'Italian' label. Coldiretti responded with a petition which garnered one million signatures from producers, consumers and environmental organisations as well as food experts and celebrity chefs. The government acted to defend the nation's culinary glory, and rules for the new labels were drawn up.

To publicise the labels, Coldiretti is holding a National Italian Tomato Day on Wednesday, when they come into effect. Italy is the world's second biggest grower of tomato products with a business of around five million tonnes compared to the USA's nine million.