Cheese fraud revealed in Italy

9.7.2008

<div>The Italian authorities have traced a cheese production chain that used rotten cheeses as raw material in March 2006. Wide-ranging activities that also extended to other countries, and had endangered the health of consumers have been revealed after two years of investigations. The case is handled by the public prosecutor of the town of Cremona.</div>

A company in Cremona by the name of Tradel collected cheeses from the market that were out-of-date, melted them and used them as raw material for new cheeses. Some of the rotten raw material had been delivered to other facilities in Italy and to one facility in Woringen in Bavaria, Germany. The German authorities closed the facility in Woringen on Friday 4.7.2008 due to the investigations. Tradel’s central partner was a company by the name of Megal in Novara, Italy.

As a consequence of the inspection carried out previously on Tradel by the Italian police, production was interrupted due to inadequate hygiene and the case was transferred to the public prosecutor of Cremona. At the same time the tax authorities started an investigation into the company’s finances.

The local health authorities ordered the company’s production lines to be closed and the destruction of the finished products that were found on site as prescribed in the regulations. The company was completely closed in June 2007. According to the Italian newspapers the company’s products have been sold in discount markets in different countries in Europe. Products manufactured by the company were amongst others sliced breakfast cheeses, processed cheese, grated cheeses, mozzarella, provola, stracchino and gorgonzola cheeses.

The European Commission has informed the member countries about the case through the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed and required a report on the event from Italy, on the German company related to the business and information on the distribution of the products. Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira is awaiting additional information from the EU in order to take any measures that may be required in the case.


For additional information, please contact:
Senior Officer Britta Wiander, tel. +358 20 77 25381, +358 50 431 0984


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