Parmigiano Reggiano for observant jews is now a reality

The first Kosher wheel was cut in the Israel pavilion at Expo 2015. Alai: new commercial opportunities from the respect of rules that go beyond cultural aspects

Milan, 27 October 2015 - Followed by Rabbis in every phase, from milking through to processing at the dairy, today saw the official presentation of the first Parmigiano Reggiano fit for consumption by observant Jews.

The first wheel - part of the production branded a few days ago by the Consortium, which certifies the use of the name only after 12 months of maturation - was cut open today in the Israel pavilion at Expo, thus marking the birth of Kosher Parmigiano Reggiano, produced under strict compliance with the set of religious rules (Kasherut) derived from the Torah,  which for over three thousand years have been applied by observant Jews all over the world.

Produced one year ago by Bertinelli Dairy Farm of Parma, the cheese wheel that was cut open at Expo was certified Kosher (i.e. in conformity with Jewish laws) by one of the most reputable bodies: OK Kosher Certification, based in New York, where one of the largest Jewish communities in the world lives.

"This is an important, extraordinary step forward for Parmigiano Reggiano production- observes the Chairman of the Consortium, Giuseppe Alai - it is the result of care and respect for rules that go beyond simple cultural aspects and, at the same time, it opens up new opportunities for the sale and consumption of Parmesan cheese by observant Jews, but also by millions of people who, especially in the United States, have chosen kosher food because it is recognised as wholesome  or because of dietary style (for example, vegetarians) and specific health issues (intolerance or allergies)".

In addition to the 13.5 million people of Jewish religion who live in various parts of the world (40,000 in Italy) there are 12.5 million consumers of kosher products in the United States alone, where these foods account for almost 30% of all food sold in supermarkets.

"We host this event was a great pleasure – comments Elazar Cohen, General Commissioner of Israel Pavilion – Indeed it marks a further point of contact between Italian know-how and they Israeli and Jewish culture. Together we collaborate on many projects for scientific and technological innovation but also social and humanitarian projects in the field of agricolture and nutrition all over the world".

"We are very pleased with the result – says Nicola Bertinelli, managing director of the dairy farm business that has produced the first kosher Parmigiano Reggiano cheese – a result that we have achieved after a particularly demanding process involving every phase of the work carried out by cattle farmers, dairies and master cheese makers".

"The fact that our cows are fed according to totally natural principles already set forth by Parmigiano Reggiano specifications - adds Bertinelli - was the first, fundamental element of compatibility with Kashrut laws, but the rules concerning cattle farming and milking, as well as plants and facilities have required significant adjustments, which are constantly monitored by a Rabbi".

The production capacity of the Bertinelli Dairy Farm will be 5000 wheels of Kosher Parmigiano Reggiano a year: the lot of the first year has already been sold out, testifying the interest attracted by this absolute first for one of the most prestigious Italian PDO products.