Venerdì, 21 Settembre 2018
BRUSSELS

Italian families at risk from cheap imports, says group

English
© ANSA

(By Sandra Cordon) Brussels, May 31 - Cash-strapped
Italian families may be risking their own health by opting for
lower quality, imported food products that may appear to be
cheaper but could carry high long-term costs, farm group
Coldiretti said.
Researchers with the organization say that as many as six
in 10 Italian families are choosing lower-cost food items that
may be cheaper because they have not been properly processed
before sale in Italy.
To support that claim Coldiretti, which represents
agricultural producers across the country, said that incidents
of food contamination are increasing.
The number of warnings about contaminated, imported foods -
from tomatoes to nuts - has risen by 26% in 2013, according to
the group.
As examples, it points to tomatoes imported last year and
labelled as problematic because of chemical residue; nuts from
Turkey that were contaminated with mold; and honey from China
that was deemed unsafe.
From eastern Europe came semi-cooked or frozen bread
products with a two-year shelf life because they are filled with
additives and preservatives, claimed the report.
"In short, it's a snapshot of the risks of low-cost food,"
said the president of Coldiretti, Sergio Marini.
As Italy endures its second full year of recession,
consumers are cutting spending wherever possible.
Recent data shows that grocery shopping is the only part of
the family budget where spending has actually increased
slightly.
But Coldiretti fears the extra spending is on quantity, not
quality, of food.
The group has submitted its report to the European Union
leadership in the hope they will "enhance the EU agricultural
policies, ensuring environmental and food safety of citizens".
It also hopes that both the EU and the Italian government
will do more to protect agricultural production.
According to Coldiretti's research, the situation is much
the same across Europe - consumers buying the cheapest products
without realizing where and how they arrived in the local
supermarket.
The group said that 80% of Europe-wide food warnings last
year related to low-cost food coming from non-EU countries.
Worst offenders? "China, India and Turkey," said
Coldiretti.
The European agency for food security has highlighted some
products that have drawn a large number of complaints, says
Coldiretti, including peppers from India and Uganda, tomatoes
from China, oranges from Egypt, beans from Morocco, peas from
Kenya.
Coldiretti also complained that impostor foods are
undermining the world's appreciation of some of Italy's top
products, including Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano
cheeses.

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