In Italy it’s quite the hot topic of these days: is pasta ‘made in Italy’ really italian? In many cases the answer is no. Major pasta factories use wheat coming from foreign countries (mainly from Canada and eastern european countries), altough they declare that their product is italian 100%.
This practice has repercussions on the economic level and on the health safety. As far as the ecomic aspect is regarded, Italy’s total grain production in the last decades has significantly decreased while the grain farmers (mainly in the Southern Italy) struggle with drop prices and income. Al the italian agricolture is suffering as a consequence of a wild opening of markets and of the European common agricultural policy. The result is that a very important branch of the Southern Italy’s economy is on the verge of viability.
Returning to pasta producers, as we said, they use foreign wheat showing an italian label. Is this a con?
“They are cheating the consumers” said Enrico Pottino, president of Confagricoltura Sicilia (the regional branch of the italian federation of agricoltural producers).
“Mr Barilla and other pasta producers show off the brand Made in Italy, but in their products there is nothing italian. They should feel ashamed. Even if the mycotoxins content in the foreign grain was allowed by the law, they are still abusing the italian brand all over the world”.
Mycotoxins, DON ( Deoxynivalenol) in particular, is poison for human health. The European Union sets maximum levels for this contaminant. But since the grain used by pasta producers arrive from extra Ue countries, this limits are useless for italian consumers as the contaminats may arrive on our table in the form of pasta and other grain products.
But that’s not all. As the association Grano Salus (which promotes the italian grain) pointed out, in the canadian grain used by the italian pasta industries, there is also a large amount of glyphosate, an herbicide used also as crop dessicant.
The glyphosate, according to a research carried out by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is related to many deseas: diabetes, obesity, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary edema, adrenal insufficiency, hypothyroidism, Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, prion diseases, lupus, mitochondrial disease, nonHodgkin’s lymphoma, neural tube defects, infertility, hypertension, glaucoma, osteoporosis, fatty liver disease and kidney failure.
“The italian grain is excellent- Saverio De Bonis, president of Grano Salus says- but the industries prefer the cheaper foreign grain which is dangerous for our health. The real italian pasta is not more than 10% of all the products available on the market”.
So, what do to?
“We expect – he added- the italian govrnment to protect our econmy and our health. But we are skpetical about the necessary political will to achieve this. We are developing a bottom-up process in close partnership with all the players in the regions and with consumers. Well informed consumers can play a decisive role as they did with palm oil that is disappearing from food industries”.
to be continued….