Food Times Blog

Italian cheese is produced with milk, but the European Commission does not agree. Why?


Even before the European Economic Community was born, some of its future members had already reached an agreement – the Convention of Stresa, 1951 – on the recognition of names and designations of origin of their most distinctive cheeses. This was followed by European PDO and PGI, where the Italian dairy sector has a major role. (1-2-3) 9a80a00d-7618-419e-895a-22b3623eeaa1

The excellence of the Beautiful Country is rooted in ancient traditions and legislations, of which the national law of 1974 is a good example. The milk is worked from its natural form that is liquid, without introducing any activity phases outside the natural process, which, instead, evaporation and subsequent dilution of the powders are.

The European Commission, after 41 years of consistent application (!), ‘finds out that the Italian legislation is more stringent than the community law, and suddenly they demand its change. No even Kafka’s wildest imagination could have gone so far!

Who is behind it, and why now? The first suspicion of many is the acceleration of negotiations on the obscure TTIP. But perhaps, more likely, the real enemies are in-house. And it is those multinationals that already succeeded in freeing themselves from mandatory requirement of the plant indication on labels, which are meant to outsource Italian productions without informing consumers. (4)

Why use milk powder? To reduce costs, buying the powder where and when it costs less. Speculating on the volatility of international lists, maybe even playing with ‘futures’. A mercantile and financial logic, if one can call it this way.

But if only these people could raise their narrow “bookkeeping” gaze toward a broader perspective, they would realize that in doing so the true Italian value goes down the drain and the collective trust towards an integrated chain ‘from stable to table’ comes out damaged. Besides undermining strategic resources for the country, like cattle farms and milk production companies. af068312-1590-485b-9712-2ead03604353

Not to mention the unnecessary burden of the environmental impact of the products, caused by the forced evaporation and the disposal who knows where, of the tens and hundreds of thousands of tons of liquids and the transportation – by sea and by road – of the powders thereof.

How it will end is easy to foresee, the market dominates every rule and takes all, just like the ‘croupier’ at ‘the casino’. After all, one cannot expect much from a government that is not even able to share with Europe the problems related to the present mass migration, and its related tragedies.

We shall resist, always and in any case! Information and culture, petitions, education to a sustainable consumption. The GIFT model, indeed!

(Dario Dongo)