Parmigiano Reggiano in Vancouver: Detected Many Cases Of Imitation

However the Consortium’s visit continues successfully

Vancouver, February 18, 2010The promotional activities undertaken in Vancouver by the  Parmigiano-Reggiano Consortium, already an ambassador of the Made in Italy product as supplier to the Italian team, continues to meet with success.

President Giuseppe Alai met a very great number of leading distribution and restaurant operators; our typical cheese (cut exclusively with the traditional small knife) was particularly successful in the Bosa Foods chain (founded in 1953 by immigrants of Italian origin and among the principal importers of Mediterranean products) and in Thrifty Foods (25 stores in British Columbia) which, throughout the Olympics, is hosting significant promotional and information events.
On both these occasions Alai presented merit awards for intensive promotion of Parmigiano-Reggiano; an award was given to the owners of Bosa Foods (Lui Bruschetta, Bruno and Vittorio Benedetti), while to the Director of Deli Operations for the Thrifty Foods chain, Karen Boughton-Popiel, Alai presented the “Silver cheese knife” in recognition of their work promoting Parmigiano Reggiano and educating consumers.
Less pleasant surprises came from other supermarkets, where the presence of so-called “Italian sounding” products, that is, products that call to mind – through name assonance, graphics and color of the packaging – Italian ones, but which have nothing to do with them.

"While examining the distribution situation in Vancouver – relates Giuseppe Alaiunfortunately we saw examples of cheese called with the term “Parmesan”, a denomination that in Europe is protected and restricted to Parmigiano-Reggiano but which in extra European markets is considered a generic term and is therefore used in an improper manner without anyone being able to prevent it. This practice makes Parmigiano Reggiano the most imitated Italian product in the world.”
“Checking this phenomenon, which so far is still not opposed by legislation and by agreements to be worked out within the WTO s – points out Alaiis going to be a long and difficult journey, one primarily linked to the education of the consumer, the promotion in these markets of a correct food culture, at least in its fundamental elements, starting with the ability to recognize these products".
"For this reason our presence in Vancouver – says Alaihas sought to involve both the press and the commercial operators, who were the protagonists at two meetings held at “Casa Italia”, with the involvement of the Ministry of Agricultural and Food Policies and of Buonitalia.”

The Consortium first met several journalists, with whom it went into the delicate questions surrounding the protection of the name in relation to the specific characteristics of the product (particularly the natural feeding of cattle, the absence of additives and the long maturation), and then a large group of commercial operators, store owners, and gourmet lovers, who were invited for drinks. President Alai illustrated the distinguishing characteristics of Parmigiano-Reggiano while a wheel was cut open using the traditional small knife. All this took place in front of an audience of different experts who appreciated both the explanation of the product and the tasting supervised by Igino Morini, in charge of the Consortium press office, and by Paul Caccia, the Consortium representative in Canada.