Shocking, shocking, absolutely shocking! So shocking, I had to watch this video three times, to make sure I was understanding it correctly. Yes, it is in Italian, but it says things so terrible, I needed to make sure.
In this video, Enrica Majo talks about tomatoes that are labeled “made in Italy.” Where do your tomatoes come from? Interesting question. Chances are they come from China, according to this investigative report on Italian public television, in a program called “Sai Cosa Mangi?” (Do you know what you are eating?). If you can understand Italian, please watch it. I firmly believe all Italian food importers should watch it. It might prevent them from making mistakes when they place their orders from Italian companies. And no, of course I love Italy and my objective is not to throw dirt at imported Italian foods, but this practice of importing fake Italian products must stop, otherwise in a few years there will be no more Italian food to share and to enjoy. And of course, we’ll have put all the honest farmers out of business.
In the report, Edoardo Ruggiero is interviewed (he is the GOOD guy, the farmer who sells his tomatoes to Gustiamo) and he declares that he cannot compete in the market when other unscrupulous tomato producers sell fake San Marzano (the famous “Certified San Marzano” – certified by whom?) at half of the fair real San Marzano price.
In the report, it is tomato concentrate that is investigated. They say that Italy is the biggest importer of tomato concentrate from China. That this is an old practice, but now, this practice is becoming very big. In 2012, for example, 72 million kilos of concentrate were imported in big barrels, mainly in the ports of Naples and Salerno. This concentrate arrives “triple”, the bad guys in Italy add water, it becomes double concentrate and it goes in tins that are labeled “made in Italy” and re-exported. How terrible is this? But this is not all the bad news here. There is more. The investigators also say that these Chinese tomatoes are grown in Chinese concentration camps with no controls for GMOs and/or pesticides. How do you identify the fake tomatoes? I do not know. A guy who was interviewed in the program said, “C’mon, everybody knows if the product in the supermarket is so cheap, how can the consumer not know it is a fake?” Made in Italy, Who are we kidding?
You must trust your importer to bring in the best real products.