A new smartphone app will tell shoppers whether their food is really ‘Made in Italy’-- or just an im-pasta.
The free app was created by non-profit organization, Reliabitaly, and can be used in Italy and many countries around the globe. Shoppers simply scan products’ bar codes to see if they are really of Italian origin. The app will also tell shoppers how the item was made, according to The Local.
The goal is to protect and preserve the global prestige of Italian-made products, the app creators say.
Italy has 221 products currently protected under the EU’s geographic labels of origin (DOP)-- more than any other country. Buffalo mozzarella, Prosecco, and Modena balsamic vinegar are some of the products protected by the DOP.
Products receiving DOP status must be made according to exact specifications and originate within in a designated area. Companies found trying to pass off any fraudulent DOP products may be subjected to fines. These foods and Italian wines involve 300,000 businesses– worth over $14 billion a year for the domestic economy.
Aside from olive oil, one of the biggest Italian-made food fraud products flooding the market is cheese. Sales of foreign-made Parmesan online cost Italy an extimated $64 million a year.
But the biggest victim of food fraud is the olive oil industry. Farmers can’t compete with the lower-priced and lower-quality of foreign oils which claim to be of Italian origin. Italy strictly regulates its own standard of extra-virgin olive oil: the packaging of the oil must state when non-Italian olives have been used and must not mislead consumers with use of Italian symbols like the national flag.
If you really love all things Italian, the Reliabitaly app goes beyond food. Curious shoppers looking for an authentic item of clothing or select home goods will also be able to check the origin of their clothes and accessories that claim to be Italian.
In order to be featured on the app, however, Italian manufacturers need to sign up to the app, so Reliabitaly is still working on developing its database to include more items.