andrew schneider investigates

March 30, 2008

Dioxin in your mozzarella?

Filed under: Environmental health issues,Food - good, bad, weird,Food labeling — Andrew Schneider @ 23:00

Italian farmers and food producers thought things were going well. They recently won battles to prevent mislabeling prosciutto that didn’t come from Parma and in February, the European Court of Justice ruled that only cheeses bearing the protected designation of origin (PDO) ‘Parmigiano Reggiano’ can be sold under the name ‘Parmesan” But now, an issue of whether their mozzarella cheese is free of toxic chemicals has the European Union threatening to ban the sale of the cheese.

Mozzarella cheese

The concern first surfaced around Christmas when a garbage strike near Naples had health authorities screening residents for dioxin contamination amid accusations that toxic garbage was being dumped illegally by the mafia-controlled garbage industry in the area, the Italian media reported. Italian agriculture officials said there was no problem even though buffalo grazed on the land where industrial waste was dumped.
According to Wikielling the imported buffalo mozzarella recently, but Craig Wilson, Costco’s VP for food safety, told me that he had no indication that the cheese from the tainted producers reached his store shelves.

“But we are continuing to check with the importers and are watching the situation closely,” said Wilson.

Cheese makers logo

The soft, delicate and subtly flavored mozzarella made from buffalo milk has a fresh, stringy texture and a porcelain-white color.

The buffalo cheese is produced in the Italian provinces of Caserta and Salerno and part of Benevento, Naples, Frosinone, Latina and Rome.

According to Wikipwedia, mozzarella di bufala cheese is not new to Italy. References to cheese products made from buffalo milk go back to the beginning of the twelfth century. Buffalo were widely used as a draught animal in plowing compact and watery terrains.


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