The Italian Almanac

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Italian News - October 21

Italians are increasingly picky about what goes on their dinner tables, preferring products from their own country and dismissing GM foods out of hand. According to a study commissioned by the Coldiretti farmers' union, some 74% of Italians believe that genetically manipulated foodstuffs are bad for their health. This figure was up 4% on 2005.

The survey also highlighted a strong 'food patriotism', a widespread sense among the population that Italian food was safer and better. Some 90% said they make an effort to buy Italian food whenever possible. Half were even willing to pay more if their tomatoes and oranges were Italian.

All of this was music to the ears of Italian farmers, who have long been promoting their own 'quality' products, contrasting them with inferior foreign produce. "Italian agriculture is the European leader for quality products," said Coldiretti chief Paolo Bedoni, noting that the country had the highest number of the EU's prestigious IGP and DOP certifications.

DOP stands for Denomination of Protected Origin and along with IGP, short for Geographical Protection Indication, is a European Union certification of the unique qualities of foodstuffs and specialities which are made or grown according to traditional methods in specific areas.