The earthquake and the Parmigiano Reggiano production

Parmigiano Reggiano still on the market: “only” 300.000 damaged wheels, about 10% of the yearly production

Reggio Emilia, 3 July 2012 - The earthquake shocks of May 20th and 29th have affected 37 dairies, 19 maturing facilities and 602 farms in the provinces of Mantua, Modena and Reggio Emilia. The total number of cheese wheels affected by the earthquake amounts to almost 600.000 units. However, it can be estimated that less than 50% of those can continue ageing in neighbouring facilities in respect of the conditions indicated by the product specification for the PDO Parmigiano Reggiano. Once matured, this cheese will be sold on the market as Parmigiano Reggiano, bearing the markings and seals of the Consortium and of the PDO. Therefore, it is not possible to find on markets PDO Parmigiano Reggiano at a reduced price.

On the contrary, approximately 300.000 wheels, corresponding to the 10% of the total annual production, have been damaged and therefore cannot continue ageing. After a sanitary exam, the wheels which broke and developed mould had been destroyed, while wheels with small damages and without mould development are sold as generic cheese to companies producing creamy cheese and mixed grated cheese: not complying with the PDO standard it cannot be sold as Parmigiano Reggiano, rather it will bear a generic name.

Thus, the so-called Parmigiano Reggiano cheese "hit by the earthquake" doesn’t exist. Facilities can be affected by the earthquake while the cheese bearing the Parmigiano Reggiano and PDO marks complies with all the procedures set for PDO and is subject to strict certification controls: this means that it is absolutely safe and good. Anything less is not real Parmesan.

As a matter of fact, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is always produced in compliance with the strict PDO production regulation, it is marked by the Consortium and certified by the controlling body. The name Parmigiano Reggiano, the wheel-and-wedge black logo and the round red-and-yellow PDO logo all guarantee that the product, whether in wedges or grated, is authentic Parmigiano Reggiano.

Moreover, it is important to bear in mind that the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese production had never stopped and that the number of dairies affected by the earthquake corresponds to “only” the 10% of the total amount: therefore, the authentic Parmigiano Reggiano will be still available on markets all over the world.